Given how much our bodies change during pregnancy, it can often leave us feeling uncomfortable with sore muscles and swollen joints making life feel so much tougher!
A massage may prove to provide blissful relief from your aches.
In this post, we take a look at how late in pregnancy can you get a massage, look at the difference between regular massage and prenatal massage before considering some alternatives such as these items reviewed on our best back massagers for pregnancy or a good old fashioned foot rub from your partner.
How Late In Pregnancy Can You Get A Massage?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you’re safe to begin massage at any point in your pregnancy right up until labor. However, given the increased risk of miscarriage, many prenatal massage therapists will not accept clients until the second trimester of pregnancy.
If you are serious about massage during the first trimester, there’s a good chance you’ll need a doctor’s release before a prenatal massage therapist will treat you.
What’s the Difference Between a Regular Massage and a Prenatal Massage?
There are a few key differences between a regular massage and a prenatal massage that are all modified to help keep you and your baby safe while still providing a relaxing session.
The first and most obvious difference is that you’ll not be massaged in the prone or face-down position to avoid putting unneeded pressure on the abdomen and stress on the uterine ligaments.
You’re also likely to spend less time on your back and more time on your side, propped up with pillows to help improve blood flow. During the later stages of pregnancy, it’s not uncommon to have the massage in a semi-reclined position.
Not As Deep
The next big difference is to do with the amount of pressure that’s applied. Certain areas of your body will be off limits during massage including the insides of the legs and certain reflexive or shiatsu points which are thought to be able to promote uterine contraction.
It’s normal to be asked at the start of your appointment if you’d like a gentle abdomen massage in which no pressure is applied and can be extremely soothing, however, this is always a personal choice during your treatment.
What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage comes with a whole host of benefits for both mom and baby. These can include:
- Reduce stress – As mentioned in our How to Deal With Stress During Pregnancy post, massage is a fantastic way to reduce stress, especially during pregnancy.
- Tension and anxiety – Astudy titled Effectiveness of Therapeutic Massage for Generalized Anxiety Disorder found that massage does indeed help lower anxiety with benefits lasting up to 26 weeks.
- Relieve muscle and joint pain
- Reduce swelling – If there’s one thing that pregnancy massage is really good at helping to reduce swelling. The bonus here is a simple at home foot massage can be just as good as a professional treatment at reducing swelling.
- Strengthen the immune system – A 2012 study found that massage did help improve immune health.
- Improve digestion – By helping to relax the nervous system and relieve stomach pressures, massage can help with digestion.
- Improves sleep – During pregnancy, a good night sleep can be hard to come by, however, massage has been shown to help improve the quality of sleep.
Research by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) has found that not only do mothers to be experience reductions in anxiety, stress, sleep problems, and back pain, they also had fewer complications in their delivery and their newborns had fewer postnatal complications.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, hopefully, you now know how late in pregnancy can you get a massage and have a few alternatives.
Ellen Fetters, is a former Children's and Young People's Nursing Practice with an BSc from the University of Sunderland. After completing her SCPHN - HV she then worked as a Health Visitor within the local community.
In 2017 Ellen left nursing to launch Parenting Click, an online parenting resource aimed at creating happier families through better parenting.
She lives with her husband, beautiful baby girl, and two darling dogs. She spends her free time writing, running and learning how to become a better parent.