Being pregnant is one of the most wonderful experiences on earth as most women would certify. But they would also not hesitate to admit that pregnancy is one of the most trying and uncomfortable periods in their lives.
The joys of pregnancy will always have to be balanced with the sorrows and discomforts associated with it. Whether it is back pain, leg cramps, pain in the shoulders and neck, swelling in the leg, the list is kind of very bothersome.
Due to lack of exercise, most women would have reduced blood circulation in the body which could be the reason for all these minor aches and pains. The body as well as the mind is entirely stressed out at this phase of your life. Pregnancy is the time when women have to be more concerned about proper circulation in the body. A better flow of blood will reduce the aches and pains considerably and also keep the blood supply to the baby intact.
This is where a pregnancy massage can help many women. For most women, a pregnancy massage is a welcome proposition. It can rejuvenate their stressed out bodies and pamper their senses, leaving them wanting for more. However, while embarking on a prenatal massage, it is important to rule out any complications and also to do it in the correct procedure in order to prevent risks.
Ways to Perform a Pregnancy Massage
Importance of Consulting the Doctor Before the Massage
Before undertaking the massage, it is always a good idea to consult the pregnant woman’s doctor to rule out any complications that she may not have communicated to you and may not be aware of. When the doctor has given the go-ahead, you can safely undertake the process without any reserve.
Let the client fill up the form specifying her condition and complications that she may have like blood pressure, diabetes, blood clots etc. Any complication like the ones mentioned above make it risky for the pregnant woman to go through a massage during pregnancy.
Let Her Choose a Comfortable Lying Position
Once all the risks have been assessed and ruled out, you can allow the expectant mother to lie down. The first impulse would be to lie on the back as it is a massage. But pregnant women must completely avoid this position as it can result in low blood flow to the foetus.
Lying on the left side is the best position for increased blood flow to the foetus. Allow the mother to choose the position that is most comfortable for her. You could prop her up with pillows so that she is not entirely in a lying down position, but is half sitting with pillows at the back for support. You can put pillows for supporting her belly and one between her legs as well.
Applying the Right Pressure
When it is a pregnant woman, the pressure that you exert on her body has to be ever so gentle. It has to be more like a firm touch than a pressure. Make sure that you do not hurt her or press at the wrong spots that can be dangerous for the mother as well as the baby. Pressure points that could stimulate contractions or labour must be avoided completely unless you are in the process of inducing labour through a massage. The areas that have to be avoided are the ones that lie between the forefinger and the thumb, and ankles.
Massage the Back
Hold your palm in a loose fist position while massaging the back of a pregnant woman. Roll it on the back, starting from the nape and slowly rolling down the spine until you cover the base of the spine, Role gently back and forth in circular motions with some firm pressure without causing pain to her.
Neck and Shoulder Massage
Move on to the shoulder and neck area by rolling in circular motion. You can use your thumb here for pressing on the shoulders and neck to relieve the tension on the muscles and to ease the strain of carrying the weight that she has gained during pregnancy. Move onto the arms and rub them gently as you go down. You can use a mild oil like olive oil for massaging.
Most expectant mothers could have back pain due to the pressure on the spine. Using a loose fist, press on the base of the spine or the sacrum. Press in a little hard without causing pain. Pressing in and down this area will relax the muscles of the buttocks and provide relief from back pain.
Again, holding the fist loose, you can use long and hard strokes on the outside areas of the legs. Starting from the foot, you can use more pressure and move upwards to massage the inner legs. Remember at this time not to go right up the inside of the thighs as this can be dangerous during pregnancy. Any clotting of blood in this region can come loose if you massage this area.
Remember also not to massage the area near the ankles as this could trigger contractions. You can use a good oil for massaging the legs. Legs need more care during pregnancy as they hold extra weight. Massaging the legs will ease the leg muscles and provide great relief for the expectant mother. Feet too need extra care while you are pregnant. Massage the balls of the feet, giving firm pressure and circular motions. Use oil generously in the leg to relieve the tired muscles.
This is the most important area of the body where the baby is housed and hence a lot of care has to be exercised while massaging the belly. Massage the belly in light, gentle strokes to encourage the mother- baby bonding. However, during the first trimester, belly massage must be avoided. Massaging the belly need not be a part of the pregnancy massage if the expectant mother does not like it or approve of it. You can talk to the pregnant mother about her likes and dislikes before undertaking the massage.