Pregnancy comes with its own set of discomforts. As your baby grows, they can place pressure on your shoulders, back and legs. Additionally, pregnant women suffer from water retention, indigestion and changing hormones which can cause various aches and pains. That's why prenatal massage is so popular. Prenatal massage is significantly different from regular massage. For starters, pregnant women won't be lying on their backs during the massage session. Secondly, it is designed to steer clear of the abdominal area, especially when the pregnancy is advanced. Read on as we take a closer look at pregnancy massage as a whole. When It is Safe to Go for a Prenatal Massage In general, most massage therapists recommend that you go for a massage any time after your first trimester. This is to ensure that your pregnancy is stable and massaging won't trigger any complications. Despite there being no proof to link prenatal massage to an increased risk of a miscarriage, most therapists will avoid massaging you too early in your pregnancy just to be safe. Furthermore, there are claims that having a massage in the first trimester will add to the dizziness and morning sickness that you feel. It is also advisable not to go for a massage after your 31st week of pregnancy. This is to avoid triggering a contraction, as there are claims that some massages are capable of that. So, in short, the best time to go for a massage during your pregnancy is between the 12th and 31st week. This is when your body and your baby are the most stable. What Makes This Massage Different We've seen some of the reasons why prenatal massage is different from the regular ones. There are several more reasons, and one of the most obvious one you'll notice is the position you'll be in as you're being massaged. During prenatal massage, you'll most likely be placed on your side, usually with the support of pillows. Sometimes, prenatal massage therapists will use a special massage table that allow you to lie on your stomach. These tables have with a special area carved out that allows your pregnant tummy through. Alternatively, if the therapist needs to reach your back, they will be positioning you in a sitting position or in a similar position that's safe. However, massages for pregnant women are never done whilst you're lying on your back. This is because the weight of your womb and the baby may compress important blood vessels and reduce circulation to your placenta, which may cause problems for you and your baby. Finally, massages during the prenatal period are done with lighter pressure than regular massages, especially on the legs. This is because pregnant women have a tendency to develop blood clots in their legs. Heavy pressure can dislodge these clots, causing further complications. Why You Should Consider Going for a Prenatal Massage To help you make up your mind, we're listing out some of the benefits of having a massage whilst pregnant: \t \t It helps blood circulation This does many things for your body, including speeding up the healing of muscles that may be experiencing pain and inflammation due to the weight you're carrying. \t It helps you sleep better Massage relieves tension in your muscles, which will help you feel more relaxed and therefore help you sleep better. You'll feel that the tightness in your body relieved and you'll have a deeper and more restive sleep in general. \t It helps relieve pain naturally As a pregnant mother, you will be carrying a heavy weight everywhere, especially from the second trimester onwards. This usually takes a toll on your legs and back. A massage will help to relieve the inflammation in your back and legs by promoting better blood circulation. When the inflammation is reduced, the pain and discomfort will be reduced too. One of the additional benefits of a massage on pain relief is that it will decrease your need to use painkillers. This is beneficial for mothers who want to minimize their consumption of medication whilst pregnant. \t It helps with anxiety and depression There is proof that massages help to release feel good hormones in a mother's body, including endorphins, serotonins and dopamine. These hormones are responsible to help the mother avoid or minimize the instances of depression too. \t It helps with labour Frequent massages help your muscles stay relaxed, and therefore the chances of an easy birth and labour increases. Research has found that women who go for prenatal massages frequently have shorter labours and a shorter hospital stay with less complications. It helps decrease swelling. Towards the second trimester onwards, you may begin to experience swelling in your joints, hands and feet. This is due to hormonal changes that take place in your body and are also called oedemas. A massage is able to increase the lymphatic flow and help the drainage of fluid that has built up in these areas. How to Prepare for a Prenatal Massage Firstly, you should choose the right massage therapist or massage provider. Ensure that they are trained and certified, with the minimum hours of practical training. Secondly, consult your doctor as to whether a massage is suitable for you. Certain pregnant mothers will be advised to refrain from getting a massage, such as those with a history of pre-term labour and pregnancy induced hypertension. Apart from this, there's really nothing to worry about as they're done by trained professionals. Be sure to dress comfortably in loose clothing and stay hydrated during the massage session. Most prenatal massage therapists pay home visits, so you can relax in the comfort of your own home. Therefore, do plan ahead and make appointments early. Prenatal massage therapists are always women, in order to maintain decorum and safety. Do feel free to let your massage therapist know if any of the actions she is performing is causing you to feel pain or discomfort. Lastly, just enjoy the massage session and all the comfort it can offer you. For more insightful stories and fun recipes, stay tuned to Motherhood Story!