Massage in First Trimester

Therapeutic massage can help improve overall health. It has been in use for centuries now and many people acknowledge its benefits. It works great to relieve muscle tension and reduce stress. This often makes pregnant women wonder if massage, especially massage in first trimester can help reduce the discomfort they feel due to changing hormones. The truth is that most therapists do not recommend getting a massage during your first trimester because of the potential risk of miscarriage. Some pregnancy massage experts argue that there is nothing wrong in getting a massage early in the pregnancy because it does not automatically cause miscarriage. Still, there is no research to back their argument. What should you do in this situation?

Is It Safe to Have Massage in First Trimester?

Many people are of the view that it is not a good idea to get a massage during the first trimester. Since most miscarriages happen in the first trimester, many people associate it with massage. In reality, it is nothing but a myth, so long as you work with a professional pregnancy therapist. What it means is that getting a massage from a certified prenatal practitioner is safe and may even help provide you with some support to go through your transitional first months.

However, it is important to keep in mind that you should avoid getting any massage work done over the lower pelvic area in your first trimester. An experienced and certified prenatal practitioner knows it well and they always modify the treatment considering your current condition. If you are having trouble with nausea, they will ensure they do not work with sudden movements to make it worse. They bolster carefully when you have breast tenderness. It implies the fact that massage in first trimester is generally safe, but you need to work with a professional only.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

A relaxing body massage can provide you with much needed rest – it helps reduce muscle tension and at the same time, prepares you for the musculoskeletal changes of pregnancy. In fact, getting a massage during pregnancy may even help shorten labor. Here are some benefits of prenatal massage.

1. Hormone Regulation

Studies show that hormone levels associated with stress and relaxation alter significantly when you receive a massage during pregnancy. Not only does it help improve your mood, it also provides you with impressive cardiovascular benefits. Research shows that getting a bi-weekly massage for only five weeks significantly reduces the levels of stress hormone (cortisol) and norepinephrine. At the same time, it increases serotonin and dopamine levels that regulate your mood and reduce depression. Moreover, you are less likely to experience pregnancy related complications.

2. Reduction of Swelling

It is common for women to experience swelling of the joints (edema) during pregnancy. You develop it mainly because the heavy uterus puts more pressure on the major blood vessels in your body, which reduces circulation. Massage can rectify this issue by stimulating soft tissues to reduce the buildup of fluids in your joints. It also improves circulation and strengthens your body's lymph system.

3. Improvement of Nerve Pain

Many women experience sciatic nerve pain in late pregnancy. It usually happens because the uterus puts more pressure on the lower back and pelvic floor. This consistent pressure spreads tension to the lower and upper leg, which leads to swelling. This swelling puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain. You can improve your condition through massage therapy that releases tension on the muscles and reduces inflammation.

4. Other Potential Benefits of Prenatal Massage

By getting prenatal massage, you may also experience a degree of reduction in joint pain, back pain, edema, and anxiety. It may also help reduce muscle tension and headaches. Massage therapy may also improve oxygenation of muscles and soft tissues. Some women have noticed an improvement in their sleep quality because of regular prenatal massage.

Precautions for Prenatal Massage

While it is true that massage in first trimester or any time in pregnancy has its benefits, you may still want to take certain precautionary measures to lower your risk of experiencing any complication.

1. Talk to Your OB First

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you receive massage therapy in pregnancy. They may not allow it if you have a high-risk condition. Miscarriage risk is usually higher in the first trimester, so you may not find many experts offering this service anyway.

2. Work with a Pro Only

You should only work with a prenatal massage expert to receive a massage. Only an expert knows how you feel at certain times in your pregnancy, so they can always tweak the therapy and improve your condition. They are also more capable when it comes to selecting the right products to use during a massage session. They always avoid anything with a risk to irritate your skin.

3. Never Lie on Your Back

While an expert will always know it, you should also ensure you do not have to lie on your back during a massage session. Lying on your back after 18 weeks increases the risk of compressing a blood vessel that might lower your blood pressure. Certified massage experts will have a special table that allows you to lie face down. Being in this position alone can be a huge relief. When no such table is available, you should be lying on your side.

4. Avoid Aromatherapy

While massage therapy certainly has its benefits, you should avoid aromatherapy during pregnancy. You are going to become super sensitive to smells in your pregnancy, so it is better to avoid aromatherapy as much as possible. You will be better off getting a regular non-scented massage. 

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