Pregnancy is a time of dramatic shifts in a woman’s body. Each woman is offering her own body to support another, moving through transformational changes over a short period of time. This article introduces Pregnancy massage and acupuncture.
Throughout pregnancy, it’s a constant process of surrender & letting go! While it is a rewarding & exciting experience, pregnancy can also be a time of stressful adjustments with intense responsibilities for an infant’s care. Almost every system of a woman’s body undergoes shifts as she supports the growing fetus. For many of these adjustments, pregnant moms can benefit from the professional support of pregnancy massage and acupuncture.
Pregnancy, labor and post natal phases are an intense period when a woman has an opportunity to go beyond perceived limitations of her body/mind. Consider pregnancy massage as a supportive therapy that can uplift each woman through these changes – relieving many of the aches & pains & other physical discomforts. A number of advanced massage styles are adapted for maternity care, to support moms through various types of persistent muscular strains.
How Does Pregnancy Massage Work?
In general, a pregnancy massage session spends time working on each woman’s hips, back, shoulders & neck. These areas hold a lot of tension & are often bearing the brunt of changing shape & loosening ligaments.
Depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, you are positioned with supportive bolsters & pillows, aiming to take the pressure off of your belly, low back & hips. Most times my clients are positioned face up, side lying or straddling a chair for appropriate deep tissue massage to the spinal & hip muscles.
The Many Benefits of Integrating Pregnancy Massage
In a normal healthy pregnancy, a woman can anticipate relief from many symptoms when addressed through skilled pregnancy massage techniques:
- Attention to the effects of your entire center of gravity shifting.
Pregnancy Massage offers support on stressed lumbar, spine and hip joints as you endeavor to adjust to the extra weight & girth in front while your baby grows.
- Pregnancy Massage provides support to stretched tendons and ligaments of the abdomen, hips & uterus as they expand to accomodate the growing baby.
- Relief to key trigger points (hypersensitive spots) that occurs in taut bands of muscles especially in the rib cage, shoulders & back is provided through skilled hands that know the tender areas in a pregnancy.
- Pregnancy Massage also address the specific areas where many women experience strain & pain as their body changes during pregnancy, specifically in their feet, legs, spine, breasts & rib cage.
Learn Couple’s Massage for Pregnancy Support
Various research studies show that women who receive pregnancy massage report “fewer obstetrics & postnatal complications such as shorter & less painful labors & fewer days in the hospital following labour & delivery.” Benefits of pregnancy massage
Often times, I encourage women to bring their partner to a session. Teaching acupressure to the husband can make a considerable difference in the levels of pain experienced during a woman’s labor. I guide your partner to integrate several acupressure techniques to help alleviate some of the nagging discomforts of the third trimester.
Pregnancy Acupuncture as Pregnancy Support
A variety of acupuncture treatments can tangibly support women through each trimester, beginning with reducing morning sickness, addressing sciatica, hip & back pain & inducing labor when a woman is past her due date. This medical intervention can offer a safe, effective and drug free treatment option during pregnancy.
Pregnancy acupuncture may be used for the discomfort often regarded as part of “normal” pregnancy that just has to be endured. Prebirth acupuncture can enhance the prospects of an efficient labor.
The treatment of pregnancy related conditions lies within the scope of all qualified trained acupuncturists & midwives trained in acupuncture specifically for pregnancy. I’ve found no reported evidence in clinical studies that justify any concerns as to the safety in using acupuncture treatments on pregnancy related conditions.
Pregnancy trained massage therapists & acupuncturists, such as myself, offer women valuable help and advice throughout their pregnancy & childbirth. More often, the acupuncturist works as an adjunct to midwives & medical doctors. As health care professionals, acupuncturists are specialty trained in common challenges to be observant of with pregnancies. We work alongside the woman’s primary care givers alert to spot complications & challenging symptoms.
How Does Acupuncture Support Pregnant Women?
- Pregnancy acupuncture to prepare the baby for an efficient labor
- Sciatica, rib, back & hip pain, carpal tunnel, pubic symphysis pain, Scar tissue
- Improve leg circulation leading to varicosities/ Edema in the ankles
- Strain to the muscular joints of the hips, feet & legs
- Morning sickness (vomiting & nausea)
- Breech birth & preparation for acupuncture induced labor
- Early pregnancy supportive care
- Insufficient lactation
- Post-partum recovery
- Tiredness & exhaustion
- Insomnia & headaches
- Depression & anxiety
Bodywork & acupuncture is intended as pregnancy support for you throughout your pregnancy. It’s best to schedule appointments as you need them to manage your stress & discomfort.
Many women need some pregnancy massage support once a month during the 1st & 2nd trimester. During the toughest time on your body in the 3rd trimester, weekly sessions are recommended to give tangible relief to the structural demands placed on your body & as you approach your due date.
It’s fairly easy to get a prescription for weekly medical massage sessions from your doctor or midwife. Many insurance plans are supportive of mothers needing pregnancy acupuncture & massage with the stresses on their body. Do check in with your insurance company & see what health services it provides for pregnancy massage or acupuncture.
As a Washington licensed acupuncturist & medical massage therapist, I am a provider with most of the major & established insurance companies, like Regence, Premera, Aetna, Cigna, Lifewise & some Group Health Plans.
For women who do not have insurance coverage, the cost per session whether it is pregnancy acupuncture or bodywork is $85.
To learn more about Kris Shaw
Pregnancy Acupuncture and Massage Seattle
For more pregnancy and birth support, here are some local and national organizations to look for:
- Debra Betts is a wise writer, midwife & pregnancy acupuncturist from New Zealand. Tremendous support for Moms & their partners on many facets of pregnancy, birth and post birth. Practical handouts/DVD & booklet for couples to do acupressure for pain, discomfort and labor. http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz
- Nurturing Expressions is a specialty moms shop in West Seattle that provides breast feeding support groups for new moms and rents or sell breast pumps nurturingexpressions.com
- Limber Yoga Studios in West Seattle is very supportive of women in all phases of their pregnancy. They facilitate a women’s community support group in their prenatal yoga classes 2- 3 times a week. Childcare is provided for moms seeking time to recharge themselves. Check out limberyoga.com