What Is Prenatal Massage, the Requirements to Practice it, Benefits and Precautions?

Generally, massage therapists are advised to avoid administering massages to pregnant women. There are various risks involved which need to be taken into consideration. This is why it is recommended that proper approval from a doctor be obtained before giving a prenatal massage.

If you want to work with pregnant women, you have to specialize in prenatal massage. This is a niche not many people specialize in and thus there is plenty of opportunity for employment. The specific requirements, because of the physical condition of the clients, are why it is essential that you be trained properly before performing this type of massage.

The purpose of a prenatal massage is the same as that of a regular massage. During pregnancy, women try all sorts of things to feel relaxed and comfortable. A massage is one of the best ways of doing so. A prenatal massage relaxes tense and sore muscles and also helps improve blood circulation.

Moreover, the mobility of the woman may also improve as a result of the massage. The techniques employed are similar to that of a normal massage, but some modifications have been made to ensure there are no risks to the woman receiving the massage, which includes the position in which they lie down.

The Position of the Woman is the Main Consideration

This is perhaps the most important consideration before starting a prenatal massage. Depending on the fetal girth, some women may not be able to lie face down on the massage table.

Moreover, their breasts may be swollen and quite tender, which is another reason why they prefer to be on their back. That being said, once a client has been pregnant for over 4 months, it is advised that she not lie flat on her back since the weight of the fetus could impede the blood flow to the heart. This is where you may need to use a massage table designed especially for pregnant women.

The pregnancy massage table has slots and enough space to accommodate the belly and the breasts, ensuring the client can lie down comfortably and is able to relax. If the woman is too pregnant to lie face down, the best approach is to get her to lie on her side while you perform the massage. You may need to use pillows so that she has enough support to lie still. In fact, it is a good idea to get a full-length body pillow she can lie against.

Requirements to Legally Conduct a Prenatal Massage

The requirements for prenatal massage are the same as that for any other type of massage. The massage therapist has to be licensed by the state board and then be certified for prenatal massage.

If you are looking to specialize in prenatal massage, it is recommended that you attend workshops and take regular classes even after you start working. Prenatal massage has to be performed delicately which is why it is important that you are trained to meet the different requirements.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

So, what are the benefits of a prenatal massage for a pregnant woman? As mentioned above, a massage eases some of the discomfort and pain that comes with being pregnant.

Moreover, the blood flow throughout the body may also improve as a result of the massage. Let’s look at some of the other main benefits of prenatal massage in more detail:

  • Women suffering from lower back pain or persistent headaches because of their pregnancy can get relief from their discomfort.
  • Prenatal massage helps to release the stress and anxiety that comes with being pregnant. This could help pregnant women keep their emotions under control.
  • Pregnancy puts excessive stress on certain muscles in your body, particularly those in the neck and shoulders. Getting a massage keeps those muscles relaxed and pain-free.
  • The posture gets affected when a woman is pregnant. Getting regular massage ensures that the posture remains correct and the stress on the lower back may also be reduced.
  • The hormones of a pregnant woman are all over the place. A trained massage therapist knows how to target pressure points of the body and regulate the hormones. This could reduce the chances of emotional problems occurring during pregnancy.
  • The joints of the body often get swollen during pregnancy. They are under additional stress which they may not be able to bear and as a result, swell up. A prenatal massage can reduce this swelling considerably.
  • Sciatic nerve pain is another condition that pregnant women suffer from commonly. Prenatal massage can reduce the pain and symptoms caused by sciatica.

A prenatal massage promotes relaxation and comfort. Therefore, the women who get the massage feel much better after it. Prenatal massage therapists are trained to deal with different health issues pregnant women suffer from.

The best approach is to discuss the needs of the client before beginning the massage. The woman will tell you the areas of the body in which she faces the most discomfort. You can then work on those areas to make her feel better.

Precautions to Take When Administering the Massage

If you want to make your career in prenatal massage, you need to be aware of certain precautions that need to be taken before every massage. Even if you are an expert at prenatal massage, you still have to look at each client differently. Every individual has different experiences that drive their needs.

First and foremost, you need to obtain approval from the doctor looking after the woman during her pregnancy. If the doctor refuses, you should not agree to perform the massage. The other thing you need to be careful about is the position you ask the client to lie in. As mentioned above, it is a good idea to get a massage table designed especially for pregnant women.

Safety Concerns When Conducting a Prenatal Massage

Apart from the precautions, there are a few safety concerns associated with prenatal massage therapy. The biggest concern in this regard is whether, at any stage of the pregnancy, a prenatal massage should not be performed.

Prenatal massage can be performed on women during any of the three trimesters. That being said, there are some massage facilities that don’t provide massages to women in their first trimester because there have been cases of miscarriages occurring in the first trimester because of the pressure applied on the fetus and uterus.

You will be trained and educated about performing prenatal massage while attending massage school. If you are interested in specializing in it, you can make it your niche by focusing on it more, perhaps through additional courses, practical training and continuing education even long after you graduate from massage school. Many have made a wonderful and lucrative career of prenatal massage.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Courses - Specialties, Types of Massage Techniques

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