Pregnancy massage relaxes tense muscles, improves circulation and mobility, as well as feeling great. It is tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and massage techniques are adjusted accordingly.
Until a bump appears, it is possible to lie face down as in a regular massage however tender breasts may prevent this. Once a bump appears it is usual for the woman to lie on one side for the first half of the massage and then on the other side for the final half, using pillows for support of the legs and belly.
How Can Massage Help During Pregnancy?
Carrying a baby inside you changes your centre of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Add to that the extra weight you're carrying and you may find you've got an aching lower back. Massage in pregnancy may help with lower back pain and chronic headaches. Massage may decrease stress and promote relaxation, helping you cope with discomfort even if it doesn't specifically alleviate or prevent it.
How Can Acupuncture Help During Pregnancy?
Massage during pregnancy does have its benefits; however, many conditions that routinely crop up during pregnancy would benefit further from acupuncture. Acupuncture, when provided by a trained practitioner, can give relief for a range of pregnancy related conditions:
High/low blood pressure
Migraine and headache
Pelvic pain / Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
Acupuncture Can Turn Breech Babies
An adjunct technique to acupuncture called moxibustion has been used for many centuries to turn breech babies. A herb called moxa is 'compacted' into a cigar shaped stick, one end of which is lit and it is slowly smouldered directly above an acupuncture point on the little toe. Research is currently underway, but previous scientific studies have found promising results for the turning of breech babies, somewhere in the region of 80% success rate.
Acupuncture and Labour
Acupuncture can be used to help to induce labour in overdue pregnancies. Ideally started a few weeks prior to the due date to get the body ready, acupuncture can be gradually increased in intensity after the mother has passed her due date and then only with the consent of the obstetric team in charge of the birth. This ensures that all medical factors are taken into account and that the appropriate facilities are in place if the treatment is successful in encouraging the natural process to start. Acupuncture treatment can occasionally have a very rapid effect, but generally speaking it may take at least a few days to work.
During labour, acupuncture is used for pain relief and to boost the mother's energy if the labour is a long one. Acupuncture can also be used to restart labour if it has slowed down or if contractions have stopped.
After the Birth
Acupuncture is used by new mothers to increase energy levels, to promote healing, and to combat the 'baby blues'. It also is very helpful in treating mastitis.
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