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Some of the many benefits of pregnancy, or prenatal, massage can include: relaxation and stress relief; relief of muscle cramps, spasms and pain in the lower back, neck, hips and legs; increase in blood and lymph circulation which can help to reduce pregnancy-related swelling; reducing stress on weight-bearing joints; improving outcome of labor and ease labor pain; and providing support for the new mother and help in alleviating post-partum issues.

Pregnant women should make sure that when they are looking for a pregnancy or postpartum massage, that the therapist is certified in pregnancy massage. This will ensure that the massage therapist has special training in working with pregnant clients and that the massage will be safe for both mother and baby.

Massage during pregnancy differs from a regular massage. Since the client receiving the massage is pregnant, knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy of a pregnant woman are crucial. Positioning during a massage is critical to the safety and well-being of both the mother and the baby she is carrying. There are also parts of the body that should not be massaged.

Massage is beneficial for almost everyone. Even women carrying multiples can benefit from massage. There may be certain conditions that may or may not be related to the pregnancy that would indicate that massage is not advisable. This may include women at risk for preterm labor, women with blood clots or clotting disorders, and other ailments.

Many therapists require a written note from a doctor before giving massage therapy during a client’s pregnancy. Massage during the first trimester is usually up to the woman and her practitioner. Massage has not been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

Postpartum massage is designed to help restore the body to its pre-pregnant condition. It also addresses the stress of carrying and caring for a newborn, and can help a mother who is struggling with post-partum depression. It can speed the recovery by bringing relief of sore muscles and help the mother to relax more easily. Abdominal massage also helps to shrink the uterus and relieve scar tissue. No matter where a woman may be in her childbearing year, massage may have many benefits for both her and her baby.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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