Prenatal – Pregnancy Massage
When you’re looking for relief from sore muscles and swollen joints during pregnancy, there are plenty of ways to sneak a massage into your daily life: a quick foot massage from your partner, a DIY back massager, or even a professional prenatal massage.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What a prenatal massage is
- The difference between a regular massage and a prenatal massage
- The safety of prenatal massages
- Plus, 12 benefits of a prenatal massage
What Is Prenatal Massage?
Many expectant mamas turn to massage therapy during pregnancy to soothe sore, achy muscles and relax before baby arrives.
A prenatal massage is very similar to a full body massage that you experience at the spa. The main difference is that the masseuse will make a few modifications to ensure the safety (and comfort) for mama and baby.
A massage therapist must be licensed to perform a prenatal massage, which includes being licensed by the state board and earning a certification in prenatal massage. (source)
The History of Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massages are not new. In fact, prenatal massage has a deep history rooted in many cultures around the world. Here’s a look at how prenatal massage has traditionally been used:
- Jamaica: Midwives in Jamaica traditionally used prenatal massage right until delivery. Depending on what stage of labor Mama was in, the midwives would preform different massage techniques. Toona leaves were often used to rub the belly, while olive oil and a warm wet compress was used on the belly during transition.
- Japan: Fun fact: Midwives in Japan are called “Sanba,” which literally means “elderly woman who massages.” Japanese sanbas are known for performing acupressure during pregnancy, as well as foot and leg messages while mama labors. (source)
- Mexico: Aztec midwives massaged a mama-to-be’s legs and believed that the tension in her legs indicated fetal position. This practice must have been handy when there were no ultrasounds! (source)
- Malaysia: Malaysian mothers massage their own navels with coconut oil. Why? It is believed to encourage the baby to lower into the proper position for birth. (source)
- England: Midwives in 17th century England massaged laboring moms with oil of lilies. (source)