Pregnancy Massage is one of the oldest recorded healing arts, with most cultures having midwives who utilized massage through all stages of pregnancy. Investigation and research over the last two decades has helped popularize pregnancy massage as numerous studies show evidence that prenatal massage therapy is instrumental in improving pregnancy outcomes, fetal development and maternal health. Evidence indicates a decrease in anxiety, stress hormones and obstetrical complications in women who received regular massages during their pregnancies. Your baby benefits too by a reduction in cortisol, which can otherwise negatively affect fetal brain development and behaviour. If stress is high during the antenatal period, it increases your baby’s risk of attention deficit or hyperactivity, anxiety, and language delay.
Each full body pregnancy massage experience is designed to ease aches and muscular tension and increase the flow of relaxing endorphins. Your massage balances the use of releasing Remedial techniques with relaxation enhancing strokes.
A blissfully comfortable and highly supportive body cushioning system is used, which allows face-down comfort and correct postural alignment regardless of tummy size. Comments about being able to lie on your tummy include: "I feel weightless" and "blissful" and "I really don't want to get up, ever".
The pregnancy cushioning system allows for greater postural alignment than is possible with side-lying. It is a far safer alternative to the tables with the hole, which can result in stretching of the abdominal ligaments due to the belly hanging without support. By contrast, the foam cushioning system provides a wonderful support and is perfectly safe. In fact, it provides a little more room than usual so your baby is able to move into optimal position. It can therefore optimise your baby's chance of turning if in breach position.
Pregnancy Massage may incorporate by choice where appropriate -
- Acupressure (safe points)
- Induction (to specific points)
- Moxibustion (Chinese herb)
- Reflexology (safe points)
- Aromatherapy (safe oils)
Moxa Massage is designed to encourage movement and activity in breach babies. Breach means that the bottom, knees or feet are pointing down. The ideal birth position is head down with baby facing your spine. Used externally, a Moxa stick is held over acupuncture points and the warmth stimulates, tonifies and warms the point.
Fifteen percent of all babies will be in a breach position between 29-32 weeks, but only three to four percent will stay in this position until labour. It is therefore only necessary to seek a Moxa Massage in the last few weeks of pregnancy if nature hasn't taken its course. Studies show the success rate is about 92 percent.
A Blissful Birth Massage during labour eases muscular pain and the use of breathing and visualisation brings you fully into feeling empowered in your body. Generally, this is optimal when you are feeling barriers to coping with the birth sensations.
It is a privilege to be asked into your birthing space and sensitivity and intuition play a huge role in giving you the type of massage you need in the moment.
Birth massages are either 1 or 2 hours in duration at your home, preferably before or early into second stage of labour.
Why should I have a massage while I am pregnant?
According to psychologist, psychotherapist and author Robin Grille, from the third trimester in utero, through birth and the crucial bonding time that follows, our primal experiences mark us for life. "Our moods, attitudes, relationship styles, our reactions under stress, even the functioning of our immune systems bear the imprint of how we were ushered into life," Robin Grille says. Mother Earth Massages provides a uniquely supportive and nurturing space to connect with your growing baby and enhance your capacity for attachment.
Other research based benefits include –
- Sooth and relieve pain to the lower back, pelvic and uterine ligaments, which may occur due to the muscle imbalance caused as the uterus expands, ligaments stretch and the centre of gravity shifts
- Reduce stress, which can result in premature labour due to production of corticotrophin releasing hormones (CRH). Stress can further result in low birth weight which correlates with high blood pressure in mothers, long term infant behavioural problems such as ADD, and cognitive and neuromotor developmental delays
- Reduce the risks of pre-eclampsia and other hypertensive disorders, which may be a consequence of increased blood pressure due to stress
- Feel greater suppleness and relief from muscle stiffness and soreness, which may result from retained interstitial fluid
- Increase your chances of turning a breach baby during a Moxa Massage. The cushioning system allows more room for your baby to move into optimal birth position and the Moxabustion encourages movement. Studies indicate a 92% success rate
- Feel a greater mind-body-baby connection through guided visualisations and affirmations
- Discuss the latest research on healthy pregnancy, birth and attachment
- Bring nutrients to the tissues and eliminate waste products, which may counteract oedema as a result of slower blood flow to the lower extremities
When should I have a massage?
Massage is considered both safe and beneficial for you and your baby during any stage of pregnancy. It is safe in the first trimester as long as you don't have any high risk factors such as a severe morning sickness, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes or a history of miscarriage.
Despite it being safe, it is advisable to seek a therapist who has a Certificate in Pregnancy Massage, which is on top of, not included in, their Certificate IV or Diploma of Massage. At Mother Earth Massage, you complete a comprehensive questionnaire. Your full history is discussed and if necessary, specific clearance tests help our certified pregnancy massage therapists determine whether you should receive bodywork. If you have any concerns, please feel free to discuss these during your initial phone or email enquiry before you book an appointment.
Precautions should be taken for -
- a history of pre-term labour
- experienced severe swelling (pitted oedema)
- blood clots in the lower legs
- high blood pressure
- are considered a high risk pregnancy
- or have pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
Ask your doula, doctor, midwife or obstetrician for medical clearance if you have any of the above conditions.