A surrogate once remarked, “I did it! I finally decided I was worth being taken care of and allowed myself what I had previously considered a luxury: a prenatal massage. You’d think after three pregnancies, I would have done it ages ago; however, I am a very stubborn and “tough” girl who doesn’t believe in “wasting” money on things purely for me. Boy was I wrong. It was wonderful and it will not be the last time I go. This looks like it’ll become a regular thing for me now that I know better. I felt so much more relaxed afterwards. And I slept! I actually slept through the whole night! This never, ever happens to me, especially during a pregnancy.”
What is a prenatal massage and how is it different from a regular massage? A prenatal massage is a specialized technique that is designed for a woman usually in her second trimester up to part way through her third trimester. It’s meant to improve circulation, give you some energy, and take some of the strain away from your over-worked muscles and joints. It uses a lighter pressure and you lay on your sides as opposed to your back and tummy. Lying on your back is never a good idea when you’re pregnant. The weight of the baby and uterus blocks circulation to the placenta. This can cause complications that no amount of massage can help. It is a little more difficult for the masseuse to rub you down at this angle, but far safer.
Prenatal massages also have the same great benefits as any regular massage does. Loads of studies have shown that they relax and loosen tight muscles, reduce cortisol (that nasty stress hormone), increase blood flow, keeps the lymphatic system going strong and flushes toxins out of the body. Just be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards as massages releases toxins that have built up in your muscles to float freely through your body, which can make you sick if you are not properly hydrated afterward.
What all this means is, that with regular prenatal massages you should become generally more relaxed. They help relieve insomnia, get rid of joint pain, and relieve swelling, headaches and even sinus congestion. Also, let’s not forget to mention all those neck, back, hip, leg and sciatica pains you will no longer experience as much.
Here are just a few warnings to keep you safe and happy. First, make sure a prental massage is not prohibited by your surrogacy contract. Secondly, the first trimester is a little too risky for a massage. With everything changing, it’s just not a good time (especially for surrogates or anyone getting assistance with conception). Also, research your masseuse first, don’t just go anywhere. People who specialize in this type of massage need to be specifically trained in prenatal massages. The right hands work miracles, the wrong ones could put you in the hospital. New studies are showing that the amount of trust you have in someone is equal to the amount of relaxation you will allow yourself to feel. If you don’t 100% trust that person, you won’t be able to reap all the physiological benefits. Lastly, stay away from those ankles! They don’t know exactly why yet, but when you rub those bad boys, it can start labor. Unless you are past your due date, keep away. Just skip down to those well deserving (probably slightly larger) feet of yours.
Now I’ll excuse you as you go book that prenatal massage appointment…!
Excerpts Diana Van De Voort