With all the fetus bashing going on around here, I thought it might be time for some expectant mother and baby positive thoughts. Especially given the alarming number of pregnant women in my life right now.
I’m a big fan of proper pre-natal care. Although women have been having children for millions of years, I see no reason not to take advantage of the greater medical knowledge and technology available to us now. Why not learn the proper balance of foods to eat in order to be healthy for you and your baby, for example? The benefits of ultrasound and pre-natal testing are also well established. I mean, if you’re going to spawn, do it right, I say. No half measures ’round here.
But caring for the mother sometimes gets neglected in the quest for baby. Pregnancy is very hard on your body–you undergo immense emotional and hormonal changes. Your figure starts to change shape. As an outside observer, I often think the pregnant women are like the victims of hijackings. There’s a fetus fundamentalist at the controls, riding roughshod to get what it wants.
And this is one of the reasons I’m a big fan of pregnancy massage. Yes, pregnancy massage is also good for the baby, especially in the sense that healthy happy mothers make healthier, happier babies. But pregnancy massage also has positive physical benefits for the expectant mother, and can be performed any time after the first trimester. (I would recommend it on a biweekly basis, personally.) Pregnancy massage, done well, can reduce the soreness and swelling associated with pregnancy, encourage proper posture, relieve sciatic pain, and balance out muscles trying to adjust to a new load. It’s also been shown to reduce insomnia and relax the mother, as well as reducing stress. Especially in the later months of pregnancy, the demands on your body can be quite extreme, and pregnancy massage can help ease them.
But pregnancy massage is also supportive and nurturing, straight up. And that is perhaps the most positive emotional benefit. The balance and peace that a mother can find through massage will be carried to the baby as well, naturally. And pregnant women deserve some special attention, because being hijacked is no fun at all. Take an hour every couple of weeks to be pampered–you’re worth it.
Some notes about pregnancy massage–generally it should not be performed in the first trimester. You should always consult your doctor before seeking pregnancy massage to ensure that it’s not contra-indicated. Please make sure to specify that you are pregnant when booking your appointment because pregnancy massage does require special training–there are certain pressure points which should not be touched during pregnancy. (And do ask your therapist to go over those with you so that you can show them to your partner and anyone else supporting you through your pregnancy.)
Deep tissue massage, warm stone massage, and other intense modalities are not recommended during pregnancy.
Some therapists are also knowledgeable about infant massage, and would be happy to show you some techniques to use on your baby when ou arrives. Might as well get the little ones addicted to massage early, don’t you know?
If you are one of the hordes of spawning women in my life right now, congratulations!
If you’re not, I promise we will return to regularly scheduled programming later. (But didn’t you enjoy the brief glimpse of my fetus loving side? Come on, admit it. And hey, file this information away–you never know when you might get preggo!)