What to know about prenatal massages

Spa Week runs through Sunday. Visit www.spaweek.com for more information.

Pregnancy can be an exciting time in a woman’s life — it’s also an achy one, as carrying around that extra weight and fluid puts strain on her back, joints and legs. Booking a prenatal massage is the first step to seeking relief. We asked Alexis Nahoum and Becky Raik, licensed massage therapists and co-owners of the Brooklyn massage studio Melt Massage and Bodywork, about what they think every woman should know before they book a prenatal massage.

Why you should book a prenatal massage
Prenatal massage is a wonderful way to address the physical and emotional changes a woman experiences throughout her pregnancy. It can relieve the many common symptoms, such as muscle and joint tension, leg cramping and nerve pain. Its circulatory benefits can increase blood flow, flush out toxins and decrease swelling/edema in arms and legs. And like regular massage, it’s an effective stress-reducer.

Stress matters
Stress can have many negative effects on the pregnant body. It can increase the maternal heart rate and blood pressure, reduce blood supply to the uterus and contribute to a higher incidence of miscarriage and premature birth. A nurturing and soothing massage presents a powerful experience of relaxation and support that benefits both mother and baby.

What to look for in a massage therapist
While all licensed therapists are qualified to perform prenatal massage, therapists who are prenatal-certified have additional knowledge and experience. Find someone who will take the time to talk to you about your goals and adjust the session for any complications or specific needs you may have. 

There are some caveats
Although some therapists prefer not to work on women in their first trimester, prenatal massage can be practiced safely throughout the entire pregnancy up until and even past the due date. It is common for women to book sessions close to or after their due dates have passed, as working specific acupressure points and promoting relaxation can be an effective and healthy means of stimulating labor. However, it is always good to get any adjunct therapy cleared with your doctor or midwife first, especially if there are any complications.

What to expect
   
The optimal position for prenatal massage is side-lying, as even specialty tables with cut-outs for the belly strain the uterine ligaments and increase intra-uterine pressure. Pillows are used to put the client in a position that doesn’t create any additional strain. Techniques address the needs specific to pregnancy and incorporate stretching, traction and Swedish/deep tissue massage.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

Future Boston Alliance invites you to #RidetheLine, support…

#RidetheLine aims to show the city, the nation, and the globe our creative impact as Boston citizens.

Local

(Update) Body of missing BU grad Eric Munsell…

The dead man pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon was that of missing 24-year-old Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell, Boston Police said today.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in…

NHL video highlights: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime of Game 4

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 14-5

Felix Doubront struggles for second time in five starts

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.