I get a lot of questions about positioning for my pregnancy treatments.
I consider the best position for a pregnant woman during massage to be side-lying. Tables that provide a hole in which the uterus can fit may not be reliable and can still apply pressure to the abdomen, or allow the abdomen to dangle, causing uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments.
I use pillows and bolsters to align the body and ensure you and bump are completely comfortable. We first massage one side and then turn over to do the other side. It's very comfortable and allows for a great back and shoulders treatments. This position also allows very effective treatment of hips and lower back for sciatic and pelvic girdle pain.
You may already be struggling to get a good nights rest with the ever growing belly and baby tap dancing around on your bladder at night. Leg cramps are the last thing you need! These nasties radiate up through the calves and up your legs and are deeply unpleasant way to wake up in the middle of the night. They are unfortunately a fairly common occurrence during pregnancy, usually kicking off in the middle of the second trimester.
So what causes them? There doesn't seem to be one conclusive answer. Theories include: fatigue from carrying pregnancy weight, compression of the blood vessels in the legs, and possibly diet — an excess of phosphorus and a shortage of calcium or magnesium. While getting off your feet at night seems like it would help, this is often when fluid retention and fatigue are at their worst, making the cramps that much more likely to strike.
If a cramp strikes straighten your leg and gently flex your ankle and toes back toward your shins several times. If this doesn't help try placing the sole of your foot on a cold surface. (tiled floor or a cold wall) If you can, get your partner to massage calf.
What you can do to help prevent them:
Your trapezius muscles, or "traps," form a cape across your upper back, running from your skull and the spine of your neck and upper back to your shoulder blades and collar bones. The upper traps shrug your shoulders toward your ears. The middle traps pull your shoulder blades toward the spine, while the lower traps draw them down your back.
Trap pain is classic stress pain. Your shoulders ache, your neck hurts and it is often deep and achy. You may have a headache, especially in the temples or behind your eyes or at the base of your skull. You may feel burning between your shoulder blades after sitting at your computer without elbow support.
So what causes it and what can you do?
Massage Mama offers a range of relaxing massage treatments in the comfort and convenience of your home.
Prenatal massage has gained a lot of momentum over the past several years. Many women will seek massage specifically for their pregnancies even if they wouldn't have incorporated it into their schedules before. So, why is prenatal massage so important? In addition to all of the regular benefits, prenatal massage has some benefits specific to pregnant women.
Just like with regular massage, prenatal massage can help to improve circulation. This is especially important during pregnancy because your blood supply increases to about double the amount found in non-pregnant women. The improvement in your circulation from regular prenatal massage can result in benefits such as a decrease in swelling and a reduction of numbness/tingling. This can feel especially good in the last months of pregnancy when most women experience an increase in swelling in their legs and feet.
When you are pregnant, there are many things that can hinder your ability to breathe easily. First, your growing baby displaces your organs creating less space in your belly. This can restrict the amount that your diaphragm and lungs can move, and can decrease your ability to take deep breaths. Postural changes can also cause a decrease in space for the lungs to fill impeding breathing. Regular massage therapy can help to improve your breathing by helping to relieve some of the tension caused by postural changes, which can help you to feel like there is more space, and therefore more room to breathe.
Another common complaint during pregnancy is sinus congestion or sinus pain. This is due to an increase in the hormone Progesterone, which can cause swelling of your sinuses. Massage can help to ease sinus pain through the utilization of facial massage and acupressure.
Improved Gastro-intestinal Function
During pregnancy, the increased progesterone also causes your digestive system to slow down. It does this so that your food takes longer to digest, leaving more time for nutrients to be absorbed for the baby. This slow down in digestion can also lead to constipation, heartburn, a cit indigestion, gall bladder disease, bloating, and nausea.
Receiving regular massage during pregnancy can help to decrease these negative symptoms. It help to encourage faster food absorption which can speed up digestion. This can help to ease the negative symptoms listed above.
The skin can take a bit of a beating during pregnancy. Your growing belly makes the skin of your midsection tight, dry, and can cause stretch marks. Having soothing massage with oils that are beneficial for your skin can help to put moisture back into it making it feel less tight and dry. It can also help to decrease the appearance of stretch marks.
Relieves Musculoskeletal Discomfort
The changes in your posture as you are growing your baby can cause a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms which increase the later you get in your pregnancy. Your balance changes completely and you may experience symptoms such as sciatica-like pain, ligament pain, carpal/tarsal tunnel pain, restless legs, and headaches just to name a few. Regular massage is a great way to address all of these discomforts. It can help to release the muscular tension that builds up in the hips causing the sciatica-like pain. A massage therapist trained in pregnancy massage is able to recognize symptoms of ligament pain and has special techniques to help ease the pain. Carpal/tarsal tunnel pain is often caused or exacerbated by edema or swelling. Reduction in the swelling of hands and feet can help to ease symptoms of carpal/tarsal tunnel pain. Restless legs can be caused by overly tight calf muscles. While no deep work should be done on calves during pregnancy, superficial massage can help to relax the muscles enough that you will get some relief from restless legs.
Some women also experience what is known as Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction, where the ligament at the front of the pelvis separates. This causes a great deal of pain any time you do anything one sided such as walk, climb in and out of bed, climb stairs, etc. Massage therapy can help to correct it and has been known to even reverse it in some cases.
New mothers are under a lot of stress. Along with dealing with the regular stresses of their lives, they are also faced with growing a human baby, erratic hormones, and the fears and worry that can come along with becoming a parent. Massage is a great way to calm the mind and relax the body, helping to relieve some of the stress.
Good Preparation for Labor
Receiving regular massage therapy throughout your pregnancy can actually help prepare your body for labor. It can help to increase your flexibility and keep your joints supple and open. It can also help you to be more in tune with your body and what you are feeling by increasing your mind/body connection and creating kinesthetic awareness. Recognizing where you hold tension and learning to relax your muscles can work to your benefit when you are in labor. Massage can also help you get used to relaxing and focusing on your breath, both of which can aid you throughout labor and child birth.
Visit the PREGNANCY MASSAGE treatment menu.
A technique involving deep bodywork designed to improve your circulation, take some of the strain off your muscles and joints, and generally re-energize you.
What It Does: Anyone who's ever had a professional massage (whether pregnant or not) knows that both body and mind feel better after a rubdown. Studies show that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you're pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body. And it reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that's comforting during the constant changes to your body during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping, and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn't a result of pre eclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain, and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion — all common pregnancy problems.
If your pelvis is aching, you're not alone. As many as 80 percent of pregnant women experience pelvic pain at some point, mostly in that final trimester when stress on the pelvic region is especially intense. It’s even more noticeable once lightening occurs (when your baby drops into the pelvic area in preparation for labor about two to four weeks before delivery — though many women won't experience it until they're in their first phases of labor). However it can hit at almost any point in the pregnancy, and its impact can range from minor ache (a few twinges, or a general feeling of heaviness and stress in the pelvic region) to debilitating (a searing sensation that wraps around your back and snakes down below your burgeoning belly). Pinpointing just what it is (or, rather, what it isn't) is tough because it's such a wide-ranging problem.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Your increasingly heavy baby is burrowing deeper into your pelvis in preparation for birth, and that little (or not-so-little) head is now pressing (hard) against your bladder, hips, and pelvis — putting ever-increasing stress on the bones, joints and muscles in your pelvis and back. On the bright side, once the baby "drops," your uterus will stop pressing up against your diaphragm and lungs, which will let you (finally) take bigger and deeper breaths.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
You can pelvic pain from symphysis pubic dysfunction in that the discomfort is more generalized and isn't necessarily caused by the loosening of ligaments. And it’s not like sciatica in that the pain isn’t caused by pressure on your sciatic nerve, which means it’s more localized to your pelvic area (it doesn’t shoot down your legs).
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ever notice when you are lying on your side that your top hip isn’t even with your bottom hip? Your legs are usually centered beneath you, but when you lie on your side, your top leg moves down with the force of gravity to rest on the bed’s surface, creating torsion in your pelvis and extra tension in your low back. If you are pregnant, it already exacts a huge toll on your pelvic bowl - the weight of the baby rests there and the three separate bones that create the pelvis become hypermobile and can painfully move out of alignment. 80% of pregnant women report low back pain at some time during their pregnancy, so your back needs all the support it can get. To return your legs to alignment (and hips, and back), straighten your bottom leg, then bend your top leg and add a large pillow beneath it. The mass of the pillow ought to allow your top hip, knee and foot to sit at the same height, and ideally, the pillow will be pretty much the length of your leg. There are large specialty pregnancy pillows you can buy, or in a pinch, try a very firm king-sized bed pillow. Either way, this is going to release low back tension and keep you centered.
View the complete range of pregnancy massages HERE
Pregnant women are three times more likely to get sinus infections because of the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies. Pregnancy causes increased blood flow to the nasal passages, which may cause congestion. Mucus in the nasal passages and sinus cavities cannot drain freely, and the sinus cavities become clogged. The pooled mucus provides a rich environment for an infective agent---bacteria, virus or fungus---to grow and multiply. Symptoms of a sinus infection include headaches, fatigue, a sensation of pressure and post-nasal drip.
Sinus massage combines gentle pressure and warmth from the hands to break up the mucous that backs up in the sinus cavities. The natural drainage mechanism is stimulated to clear the passageways. Blood circulation increases to sustain better sinus function throughout the day. Congestion and pressure decrease so that the headache and pain associated with sinusitis are alleviated. Clients are often surprised to find that relief is possible following the first massage.
Anice Lombard, Massage Mama. Mama of 2 and Massage Therapist