The joys of motherhood don’t come without some pain, and a lot of that happens before the baby is born. Prenatal massage can be just what clients need to reduce pain up to the birth of their little one. Find out what makes prenatal massage unique and how to talk to expectant mothers about the benefits.
Talking to clients about Prenatal Massage
The prospect of a massage might just sound like heaven to expecting mothers. The physical journey one takes for nine months carrying that “bundle of joy” can bring with it back pain, muscle pain and possibly cramps not to mention just plain anxiety and fatigue. Massage sounds like the perfect antidote to these conditions. However, current and prospective clients may be concerned about the safety of a massage during pregnancy because of the pressure placed on their bodies and the fact that they generally lay on their stomach during a regular massage. So, it will be your job to put them at ease and explain the benefits and how you’ll perform the massage to assure the utmost safety and comfort. You should also encourage them to talk to their medical professional before scheduling a massage just to confirm it’s the right thing for them to do – especially during the various trimesters.
Prenatal massage benefits
While a prenatal massage is similar to a regular massage, explain to clients that you’ll be careful about putting pressure on certain areas and that you won’t be requiring them to lay face down during the entire session but rather on their side or in a semi-reclined position. Talk about how you’ll use cushions to enhance their comfort. You might even have a special massage table designed for sideways massage.
When it comes to benefits, there are a number of them to discuss with clients. As in a regular massage, a treatment can provide reduction in back pain and muscle tension, lower stress and possibly even improve sleep due to the relief from pain and a greater feeling of relaxation. But there are some other benefits specifically related to conditions experienced during pregnancy. Among them:
Hormone Regulation: Research indicates that the hormones associated with relaxation and stress were altered in women receiving prenatal massage. Levels of norepinephrine and cortisol hormones, which are associated with stress were reduced, while levels of and dopamine and serotonin increased. Low levels of the latter are associated with depression.
Reduce Swelling: A number of factors contribute to swelling during pregnancy, including the body retaining more water. “Also, Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus.” Prenatal massage stimulates soft muscle tissues helping to drain fluids in swollen joints and improve circulation.
Improve nerve pain: Pregnancy can cause pain in the sciatic nerve when it becomes pinched or compressed due to the baby pressing on the nerve, pelvic misalignment or muscle tension. Massaging nearby tense muscles can help to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Suggest perineal massage
Clients may want to consider perineal massage. It can help to soften the tissues that the baby stretches during a vaginal delivery. It involves stretching and manipulating the perineal tissue using one or two fingers. Doing so, prepares the tissues to stretch over the baby’s head and body during delivery to lessen pain and lower the risk of tearing the perineum or making tearing less severe. Talk to clients about how to do a perineal massage by themselves or with the help of their partner. 
Suggest postpartum massage
The demands of motherhood once the baby is born make postpartum massage just as beneficial as prenatal massage. Talk to clients about the benefits beyond relaxation and stress reduction relative to continued relief from back, arm and shoulder pain from caring for the baby. Postpartum massage also improves breastfeeding by improving circulation, which helps milk flow. And by relaxing muscles in the chest and shoulders, postpartum massage opens the shoulders to improve breastfeeding.
Postpartum massage also helps bring the new mom’s hormones back in balance to help her feel more balanced. It also helps reduce swelling caused by increase in fluids that have accumulated during pregnancy. Improved circulation helps drain some of this fluid, and tissue stimulation helps place the fluids back into the appropriate areas. 
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 “Prenatal Massage: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Relaxation,” Spafinder, December 11, 2019. https://www.spafinder.com/blog/spa/prenatal-massage-expect-expecting-relaxation/
 “Prenatal Massage Therapy,” American Pregnancy Association, accessed November 27, 2020. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/prenatal-massage-1071/