Prenatal Massage Edmonton
We offer pregnancy massage therapy services at both our North and South locations. Book your appointment online or give us a call to schedule!
What Is Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy massage is a catch-all term for any hands-on massage during or after pregnancy (prenatal or postnatal massage).
A pregnancy massage typically lasts an hour. Some practitioners use a pregnancy massage table. That’s a table designed to accommodate a woman’s pregnant belly. Others use specially designed pillows called bolsters to position a woman comfortably on their side. This helps especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Lying on your side is often the most comfortable position.
Potential Benefits Of Prenatal Massage
Only a handful of small studies have focused on massage in pregnancy. No definite benefits have been established. Massage therapy might have multiple positive effects, including:
- Lowered anxiety
- Decreased back and leg pain
- Improved sleep
- Decreased levels of stress hormone norepinephrine
In another study of pregnancy massage in depressed women, researchers found:
- Increased levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine
- Decreased levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress
An overall improvement in mood Research has shown that, for the general population, massage has other potential benefits. It may relieve pain, or it may boost the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and tumors. Pregnancy massage experts adapt their techniques to address the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. For instance, blood volume increases dramatically — as much as 50% — during pregnancy. Blood flow to the legs often becomes sluggish. And the levels of anticoagulants in the blood — designed to prevent hemorrhaging during delivery — naturally rise.
These circulatory changes put a pregnant woman at risk of blood clots in the lower legs, typically in the calves or inner thigh. To be safe, pregnancy massage experts avoid deep massage and strong pressure on the legs. Using strong pressure could dislodge a blood clot. Instead, they use very light, slow strokes on the legs. Types of massage to avoid on the legs include deep-tissue massage, deep acupressure, shiatsu, cross-fiber friction, and percussive tapping.
Very light pressure on the abdomen is advised, if the belly is massaged at all. Some massage therapists avoid massaging the abdomen.
Is Maternity Massage Safe?
Some doctors hesitate to advise massage during pregnancy because there is a huge variation in training. There is also a lack of certification standards nationwide. This is especially true for the specialty of pregnancy massage. Not all states have laws requiring a set minimum training for a massage therapist, regardless of whether or not the therapist’s client is pregnant.
Also, like many forms of complementary medicine, massage therapy during pregnancy hasn’t been rigorously studied with high-quality clinical research methods. One area of controversy is whether it’s safe to have a massage during the first trimester.
Many massage therapists won’t give pregnancy massages during the first trimester. The reason is the potential for miscarriage. Some pregnancy massage experts argue that pregnancy massage doesn’t, in itself, cause miscarriage, but no research has been done to show a link between a massage and a miscarriage. Because many miscarriages happen in the first trimester, some massage therapists and doctors counsel against first-trimester massage simply to avoid any potential liability issues should a miscarriage occur.
How Are Pregnancy Massage Therapists Trained?
Most massage therapy training programs require about 500 hours of education. That education may or may not include specific training in pregnancy massage. Continuing education classes and workshops that specialize in pregnancy massage vary widely in terms of how much training and hands-on experience is provided.
Look for a massage therapist through one of the Edmonton massage association. Before your first appointment, ask about the therapist’s specific training and experience in pregnancy massage. A doctor, midwife, or chiropractor may also be able to recommend a qualified massage therapist in your area. AH Massage & Acupuncture clinic always have experienced and certified massage therapist available for you. Call or book online for your massage therapist near you.