Being pregnant is natural. Being pregnant makes you look and feel radiant.
These are the ideals that history has made sure to stress during this special time in a woman’s life. However, there are also other things that aren’t so great: heartburn, constipation, muscle spasms, back pain and lack of sleep – just to name a few!
What if a mom-to-be could lessen some of these negative effects and thereby enhance the positive ones? There is a way: prenatal massage.
When done by a qualified masseuse with specific training, prenatal massage not only helps with the above problems but also can increase energy and lessen many other side effects of gestation.
Done correctly, it is safe for those enjoying a “normal” pregnancy and for those at high risk. In fact, many labor and delivery departments have a masseuse on staff to help out the moms who must endure long hospitals stays.
What should an expectant mom look for when deciding who and where to go for prenatal massages? We asked Mikki Anderson, vice president and director of Holistic Services at StressBusters Body Therapy Center in Laguna Hills.
Anderson has more than 17 years of experience in the area of prenatal and infant massage. Presently on staff at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, she teaches labor massage to parents-to-be and also trains the parents after their newborns have entered the world in the art of infant massage.
Q. What is the difference between a regular massage and a pregnancy massage?
A. Both are meant to relax the body and relieve aches and pains, but a pregnant woman has many other needs and considerations. First and foremost we need to consider the safety of the fetus. So making sure that you have a therapist who has taken extra, specifically design training in this area is imperative.
When done correctly, this type of massage relieves back, leg, neck and feet pain. It also relieves the swelling, spasms and helps give the mom-to-be a greater range of motion so she is able to get a deeper more restful night’s sleep.
(Anderson also mentioned that many centers use a table with a “hole” for the belly, but this is not safe. The weight of the baby “hanging down” cuts off needed circulation for both mother and child. The table that is best is one made with hydraulics and allows the mom-to-be to lie comfortably on her side and in a semi-reclining position. These positions ensure proper blood and oxygen reach the baby at all times, she said.)
Q. Exactly what kind of training should a therapist have for this specialty?
A. In my center I require my therapists to not only have the mandatory 1,000 hours of massage therapy training, but I require they take an extra 35 hours of class with one of two schools: The Pre/Peri-Natal Massage given in only San Diego County or Body Work for the Child Bearing Year given in Northern California.
The classes teach about physiological changes and when, where and how to do the best massage, customizing it to fit each individual woman.
The extra training also has a section on post-partum stomach rehabilitation massage to help get the new mom’s stomach muscles to heal correctly, thereby stopping the typical lower back pain and “pooch” that develops from the area being stretched and separated.
Massage for moms-to-be can also help reduce the amount of pain and time spent in labor, possibly lessen the need for medical intervention and thereby enhance the entire birth experience.
Contact the writer: email@example.com