Prenatal Massages... Have Your Partner Read This!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re also a fan of massages and are constantly trying to conveniently place your partner’s hand on your back in hopes that they’ll start massaging. For whatever reason, it takes a lot of effort to actually schedule a massage. Not to mention, during COVID they’ve been so hard to lockdown! Sometimes, it feels like maybe it should be something that’s a liiiittle more accessible (hi, partners!).
On top of them being a little hard to schedule/commit to, you may also be hesitant to visit a massage therapist for perfectly understandable reasons (COVID and well, getting naked while your body has changed). Or your reasons for not getting a professional prenatal massage may be logistical. After all, you’re already comfortable at home and settled in for the night. And if you work in a city, who wants to drive home in traffic after a relaxing massage?
For those times you can’t get to the massage therapist, enlist the massage skills of your partner with these tips about when and how to give a prenatal massage. We’ll cover the reasons prenatal massage should be part of your pregnancy journey with specific instructions for body parts under the most strain.
Prenatal Massage is a Panacea for What Ails You
Did you know prenatal massage can lower your cortisol levels? Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone and while it promotes fetal and neural development, too much of it can be a risk factor for miscarriage. Prenatal massage has also been shown to lead to easier labor. Even mamas with a short weekly massage of twenty minutes reported decreased leg and back pain and less depression and anxiety.
If your feet, legs, and hands start swelling during pregnancy, the culprit could be decreased circulation and pressure on your major blood vessels. Massage can help stimulate the soft tissue, move the extra fluid, and reduce the swelling. Plus, since you’re more relaxed, sleep comes easier. Consider how prenatal massage calms your central nervous system. Hello, uninterrupted sleep!
A study also showed that newborns of massaged mamas were less likely to be born prematurely, had lower cortisol levels, and more often a healthy birth weight.
Body Parts to Concentrate on During Prenatal Partner Massage
Let’s go from the ground up with feet. Have your partner sit in a comfortable seated position. Apply a generous amount of massage oil or lotion and loosen the ankle with a gentle shaking motion from side to side. Next, hold the foot with both hands and then rub the top of the foot with firm upward strokes. Always stroke upward toward the heart to increase circulation. Massage the toes by giving them a gentle tug. Rub between the toes. Squeeze mama’s heels too! Extra weight can lead to heel pain. Lastly, rub the bottom of her foot.
You can repeat the above steps on mama-to-be's calves and thighs. When it comes to the lower back, have her sit in a chair without arms, straddling it with a pillow in front of her belly. Begin with light strokes from her neck to lower back. Remember to alternate the amount of pressure by using your fingers to apply lighter pressure and your thumbs, knuckles, and palms to go deeper.
If you follow these steps, while remembering to breathe along with her, you will all benefit from in-home prenatal massages.