A host of discomforts can come with pregnancy — headaches, body aches, fatigue, sore feet, just to name a few. But moms-to-be can rejoice because a prenatal massage may be just the thing to kick those aches and pains to the curb so you can spend less time focusing on your aching back and more time deciding what color to paint the nursery.
What are the benefits of prenatal massage?
“Prenatal massage can relieve a number of everyday pregnancy symptoms,” says Judy Bishop, a licensed massage therapist with the LiVe Well Center in Park City, Utah, who is specially trained in prenatal massage. “Our goal is to help moms relax and relieve their symptoms through a very gentle therapeutic massage.”
Prenatal massage can help:
- Reduce stress and promote relaxation
- Increase blood flow and improve circulation
- Reduce musculoskeletal strain and pain
- Enhance flexibility and kinesthetic awareness
- Foster a nurturing maternal touch and healthy bonding
“Prenatal massage can provide a great bond between mom and baby,” says Bishop, “When you incorporate touch therapeutically, baby can feel the effects of mom relaxing, breathing deeper, and bringing more awareness and connection to her baby.”
How is a prenatal massage different from a regular massage?
In addition to gentle strokes, a pregnant woman is positioned on her side to minimize discomfort.
It’s important to seek out a massage therapist who is specifically trained and certified in prenatal massage.
“Those of us who are certified in prenatal massage have received advanced training and understand how to position a pregnant woman to help maximize massage strokes so she’ll receive the most benefit,” says Bishop. “We also have additional tools, like wedges and pillows, to help minimize discomfort and allow mom to more deeply relax.”
Is prenatal massage safe?
While prenatal massage is generally considered safe, if you have questions about whether it’s safe for you, talk with your healthcare provider.
Use your HSA or FSA to pay for prenatal massage.
Under IRS guidelines, prenatal massage can be a qualified medical expense using a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) if your healthcare provider recommends it with a written prescription. To find out more, talk with your HSA or FSA administrator and your healthcare provider.