Contrary to popular belief, you can get a massage while you are pregnant. It is therapeutic, can help you relax and sleep better. However, you must keep the following in mind.
1. Your massage therapist should be well-trained in the techniques of giving a pregnancy massage. Not any maalishwaali aunty will do.
2. Avoid taking a massage in the first trimester, as it can increase the risk of a miscarriage.
3. You can use a gentle moisturiser or coconut / olive / safflower / grapeseed or mustard oil for your massage.
4. Some women are allergic to certain massage oils. It is advisable then, to do a patch test of the oil on your skin before you go for a massage.
5. Avoid using certain oils like rosemary, oregano, peppermint, thyme, sage as they can lead to uterine contractions.
6. Avoid pressing of certain pressure points located within your wrists and ankles as massaging them can stimulate the uterus to start contracting.
7. A side lying position is most comfortable, especially in the second and third trimester. Avoid massage tables which have a hole cut out to accommodate the pregnant belly. As the abdomen may hang unsupported and cause stretching of the uterine ligaments.
8. Discontinue the massage if it makes you feel light-headed, sick or you do not like the massage.
9. Guide the massage therapist regarding the pressure while massaging. Ask them to use gentle strokes or as much pressure as is comfortable for you to relax.
10. If you have diabetes, vomiting bouts or high blood pressure, do check with your doctor before receiving a prenatal massage.
11. A Swedish massage is recommended during pregnancy as it is mild and aims to relax muscle tension, improves blood circulation, and helps relieve joint pains and backaches.
12. Alternatively, you can ask your partner to massage you - especially your shoulders, back, arms and legs. Gentle strokes on your belly will be great for bonding as parents with your unborn baby.
13. A self-massage along with slow relaxed breathing for a few minutes before your bath will help you connect and bond with your baby.
14. Watch out for symptoms of blood clots and varicose veins.
15. A pregnancy massage should last for about an hour. However, you can choose to have one for a shorter duration as per your comfort.
16. Avoid a prenatal massage if you are at a high risk of miscarriage.
17. Do not take massages if you have a skin injury, any open wounds, skin infection or eczema.
Whether you get a massage from a professional, your partner, or give one to yourself, it should be relaxing, soothing and rejuvenating.
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