What mom-to-be hasn’t thought about receiving a massage during pregnancy to ease aching muscles?
It turns out the benefits of those prenatal massages go far beyond relief from pain or soreness. Just ask Laura Randall, a massage therapist at the University of Minnesota Health Women’s Health Specialists Clinic. Randall, who has an extensive background in women’s health, works with women of all ages and in all stages of pregnancy to provide comfort and care as part of the comprehensive clinical services offered at our clinic.
We sat down with her to learn five things everyone should know about prenatal massage.
There’s no doubt that pregnancy can be a stressful time. For that reason, it’s critical that expecting mothers do their best to keep their stress in check. Prenatal massages are a great tool for women to help manage stress. Prenatal massages can actually lower cortisol levels and help stave off anxiety and depression, Randall said. During her massage sessions, she also provides emotional support and helps women feel more comfortable and empowered.
“We provide a lot of nurturing, a lot of a reassurance and support as they’re going through these changes,” she said. “We’re able to lower anxiety about pregnancy and childbirth.”
Prenatal massages can also promote and improve circulation for moms-to-be. The massages help lower blood pressure, Randall said. Therefore, they also help lower the risk of complications like preeclampsia.
“The goal is to improve blood flow and relieve areas that hold tension, like hips, lower back and shoulders,” Randall said. “With sufficient training, we know we should be more cautious when we work on certain areas of the body during pregnancy.”
Beyond physical effects for the mother, pregnancy massages can help a mother and child connect before they even meet, Randall said. Some research has shown that the infants of mothers who receive regular massages throughout pregnancy are less likely to be born prematurely. “The impact and the effect is definitely really significant for both mom and baby,” Randall said.
For any women concerned about trying a new practice while expecting, Randall says it’s important to know that pregnancy massage is safe for both the mother and child. If a mother has concerns or if it is a high risk pregnancy, Randall recommends the patient secure a release form from their primary care provider.
“The risks are very low,” Randall said. “It’s just important that the therapist adapts his or her approach to the individual’s specific health concerns.”
Prenatal massages are available for all pregnant women, regardless of their stage of pregnancy. The massage services are also available for women during labor and in their postpartum period. Randall adapts her care based upon the woman’s pregnancy progress and needs.
“I cater my massage techniques to the mother’s needs and by addressing her needs, we also address the baby’s needs,” Randall said.
Please call the Women's Health Specialists Clinic at 612-273-7111 for more information about this service.