The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Would you like to feel great during your pregnancy? A massage is just the thing to help. Massage prepares your body for delivery by helping increase elasticity and range of motion in the joints and muscles associated with childbirth. And by helping blood flow in the legs, massage can reduce the chances of edema, varicose veins and blood clots. (If you already suffer from these conditions, then special precautions must be taken and you should let your doctor know you’re planning on getting a massage).

Is pregnancy massage right for you? Pregnancy massage is safe for most pregnant women. But if you have questions, we encourage you to read on for more information.The APMA gathers information from the leading pregnancy research organizations and presents it to you so that you can make an informed decision about whether pregnancy massage is right for you.

How to Choose a Massage Therapist

When you’re choosing a pregnancy massage therapist, there are a few things you should look for:

  1. The therapist maintains all appropriate licenses and permits for providing Massage Therapy in the jurisdiction in which he/she practices. Therapists are happy to show you documentation if you ask for it, so don’t be shy.
  2. The therapist has received training in, and passed all course requirements, in a Prenatal or Pregnancy Massage Training Program.


These are the two primary requirements for membership in the APMA, so if you see the APMA member logo on a massage therapist’s web site, then you know they meet the requirements.
Beyond these two requirements, the most important thing to look for is someone who you feel comfortable with—if you feel uncomfortable during your massage, you won’t get all the benefits. Asking your friends who they recommend is a good first step toward finding someone you like. Are there any expectant mom blogs or forums in your area? Visit them and ask for recommendations.

Massage Helps Post Partum Depression

It’s every new or expecting mom’s nightmare: postpartum depression. The inability to be happy about your newborn. The uncontrolled crying and desire to stay in bed and do nothing. The worst part is the guilt. When a woman is going through this she has a hard time taking care of her newborn. She wants to be happy about her baby, she wants to take care of it, but her depression gets in the way. The guilt then leads into a cycle of more depression.
Postpartum depression differs from just having the “blues” after your baby is born. Many women will suffer from sadness or crying right after the baby is born and it may last up to a week. Childbirth is a lot of work and signals a huge change in one’s life so it is natural to have emotions go a little awry. Depression however, lasts longer and the symptoms are more severe and interfere with your life.

Why does it happen? Researchers are still trying to figure the triggers that cause depression. They know that otherwise healthy woman can experience PPD and they think it has something to do with the rapid hormonal changes that occur, but they are still working on figuring out the exact nature of why it happens to some women and not others. According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, about 13–14% of women will experience depression during or right after their pregnancy. What they do know is that in people suffering from depression, their brain is not producing the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Serotonin in adequate amounts. (1) In addition to the brain chemistry being off, other factors can increase the likelihood of depression happening. These include:

  • Stressful life events (like a new child)
  • Lack of support during or after the pregnancy.
  • Personal or family history of depression.
  • Money or marriage problems
  • Feelings of anxiety about the pregnancy or motherhood

What can you do if you think you are suffering from PPD?

  • See your doctor. Don’t wait and hope it gets better on its own. Your doctor can do some tests to make sure your hormone levels are OK and guide you to some treatment options.
  • Join a new moms group. Support and acknowledgment of your situation is helpful in both preventing depression as well as treating it.
  • Force yourself to get up and spend some time doing something physical. Even a few minutes a day can help. Exercise and sunlight both naturally elevate your feel good hormones in the brain.
  • Reduce stress where you can. We often take on too much by ourselves. Ask other to help you through this time. Simplify your life as much as possible so you don’t get overwhelmed. Depression often makes one feel overwhelmed, but often we simply are. If you are trying to juggle a new baby, do all the housework, take the other kids to their extracurricular activities and be a great wife and mom all by yourself, then you are overwhelmed.
  • Get a massage! Research has shown that massage stimulates dopamine production and reduces the “stress hormones” running through your body. It’s amazing how much better you are able to deal with the challenges in life after you have had a massage. Massage also helps the psyche. As a new mom, you are doing so much for your family and new baby. All the focus is on your baby and your friends and family will often focus so much on the new baby, they forget about you. Taking the time to have someone focus on making you feel good goes a long way toward feeling better about yourself.

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