The baby and I had our first prenatal massage this weekend thanks to a lovely mother’s day gift from Juan. It was divine. Really, really nice.
With Gabi, I waited until the very end for a prenatal massage, which, in retrospect was a mistake. I got so much relief from the massage that I wished I had gone in regularly throughout the pregnancy.
My current massage therapist does not use a special table with a hole in the middle for the belly. Instead, she uses a large body pillow and has her pregnant clients lay on their sides. She was very conscious of the temperature of the room, making sure it was never too hot or too cold for me. She also used pure coconut oil as opposed to a traditional massage oil. I’ve mentioned before what a fan of coconut oil I am, so I was pleased by this.
According to some very lazy research on the subject (what? It’s a 3 day weekend. So sue me!) prenatal massage can have some pretty nice benefits: Everything from hormone regulation to improved circulation. Click here for a full list of benefits courtesy of The American Pregnancy Association.
The things that I noticed the most were the sense of relaxation I felt and the relief I felt in my aching muscles. My low back, hips, and feet have been so sore lately. She really dug in and worked those parts out.
This was not one of those all over kind of feel-good massages either. There were a few points where I had to use some of my hypnobabies techniques to deal with the intensity of it. If you’ve never had the backs of your knees stripped out, I very much recommend it, but be ready to breathe through it! Thankfully, the hypnobabies techniques that I’m learning allowed me to stay limp and loose through those parts. It was certainly painful, but I do love some good deep tissue work. If it’s not so bad that I can’t stay limp through it, then we’re doing okay.
She found sore spots all around. I expected to be sore in my hips and sacrum, but I was surprised at how sore my knees, shins, and this one muscle down the middle of my feet were. She explained that because my bones are loosening up with the pregnancy hormones, the muscles are sore from constantly re-adjusting around them.
She spent some time focusing on opening up the muscles along my flanks and through my ribs. When I thought about it, that made good sense. Those muscles are being pulled constantly from the weight of the baby. No wonder they’re sore and tired!
When she finished, I felt… taller. I felt like I could move more easily. I felt like my body was better aligned and functioning more smoothly. Post-massage, for me, is always a little sore, but it’s a good kind of sore. I like a massage with some good tissue-work, where she really gets in and digs out those achy knots, and she certainly delivered on that this weekend. I’m looking forward to my next massage. I think I’ll try to do one of these every six weeks or so just to keep my body moving and open.
If you’re interested in prenatal massage yourself, you should go for it! It’s wonderful. You’ll want to find someone who is knowledgeable about prenatal massage. There are some pressure points around the ankles than can cause contractions, so your massage therapist should avoid those areas until you’re past your due date. My prenatal massage really helped me to feel more comfortable. I very much recommend it, and if you aren’t pregnant right now, well, then you should just go get a massage anyway!