Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.
Q. I’m a relative newcomer to the world of massage, and I love it. I just found out I’m pregnant. Can I still have massages?
A. “Absolutely!” says Elaine Stillerman of Mothermassage.net. “As long as you are in good health (and your doctor approves), there is no reason why you can’t continue enjoying your massages through your entire pregnancy. A certified prenatal massage practitioner can devise a massage to nurture you physically and emotionally throughout each of the three trimesters. And your growing baby derives numerous benefits along with you. All those wonderful biochemicals that are released during a massage to relax you cross the placenta and calm your baby as well.
“During your pregnancy, your body goes through dramatic changes. You may start to feel fatigued and short of breath. This is your body adjusting to the hormones of pregnancy. A professional massage can minimize these symptoms and provide you with much-needed energy. Your posture will start to shift causing joint and muscle stiffness. The hormones you secrete to sustain the pregnancy might slow the functioning of many body systems (i.e., digestion, elimination, lymph reabsorption, etc.) A prenatal massage can relieve many of the common discomforts of pregnancy, and a qualified prenatal practitioner will be able to explain to you the correct use of your abdominal muscles to help maintain core strength (essential for a faster labor) and stability to your lower back.
“This is an exciting time for you, but it is often fraught with emotional concerns, conflicting feelings, and physical discomforts. The touch of a qualified practitioner (and it is important that your practitioner is certified in prenatal and postpartum massage therapy) can ease many of these issues and provide you with a supportive environment to help you through this thrilling experience.”