Pregnancy period is an important period in a mother's life. This period is characterized by the occurrence of various changes in mother bodies, both physical, psychological, and biological changes. These changes are normal but sometimes cause discomfort to the mother. Several things can be done to cope with the discomfort, one of them is pregnancy massage.
Pregnancy massage is a massage specifically intended for pregnant women and claimed to have various benefits. These benefits are presented through the results of several studies, one of them is a study at the University of Miami School of Medicine which shows that pregnancy massage can reduce anxiety, reduce back and leg pain, improve sleep quality, and reduce levels of the stress-causing hormone, norepinephrine. The results of other studies have shown that pregnancy massage can increase levels of the hormones serotonin and dopamine (hormones that induce feelings of happiness), decrease cortisol levels, and improve overall mood. Pregnancy massage can also improve blood circulation, improve the lymphatic system, and reduce edema or swelling in the legs of pregnant women. The results of studies on the benefits of massage in general, show that massage can also increase the immune system's ability to fight viruses and tumors. Apart from being beneficial for the mother, the results of the study also show that pregnancy massage can improve birth weight and height.
Although it can be done at any stage of pregnancy, pregnancy massage is recommended not to be done in the first trimester of pregnancy because of the risk of miscarriage to occur during these times. Pregnancy massage must also be carried out by someone who have obtained a special certification in the field of pregnancy massage, although until now there is no definite standard regarding this certification. However, it is recommended that pregnancy massage be carried out by a person who not only has the skills regarding proper massage techniques for pregnant women, but also has knowledge of the suitable position for pregnant women during the massage and knowledge of certain points on the pregnant woman's body that should be avoided for get a massage.
Be sure to consult an obstetrician before receiving a pregnancy massage because pregnancy massage should be done carefully for pregnant women who experience morning sickness, have a history or are at high risk of miscarriage, have a pregnancy with high blood pressure, preeclampsia, blood clotting disorders, as well as placental disorders, such as placenta previa.
El-Hosary, EA, et al. Effect of Therapeutic Massage on Relieving Pregnancy Discomforts. IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science. 2016. 5: 57-64