The first trimester of pregnancy is classically associated with nausea, food aversions, and stress as well as intense emotions and lots of hormonal changes. A massage is usually the last thing on a pregnant person’s mind! I mostly thought about getting through each day and ending it with some cheesy mashed potatoes (one of the only things I could stomach) but, massage can actually be a really useful tool from conception on. Sea bands* are another tool some parents love to combat nausea; they put continuous pressure on the P6 acupressure point below your wrist and can ease symptoms.
Ginger tea and peppermint essential oil are also helpful to some people!
Firstly, let’s dispel the myth that its not safe. Gentle, relaxation inducing massage is safe, even with high risk pregnancies, provided that your massage therapist has extra training beyond initial massage school. (I do!) There is no evidence that massage causes miscarriage and positioning on the massage table from day one of every session is in side-lying to provide optimal blood blow to the placenta as well as a host of other reasons.
Read more on prenatal massage positioning in my previous post: “Do you have the face-down prenatal pillow?”
Relaxation is one of the major benefits to first trimester massage that is easily overlooked. Relaxation is not just a “nice thing to do” when you have time but actually causes some really cool physiological changes in your body which postively impact your whole pregnancy. Deep relaxation via prenatal massage promotes better sleep as well as blood flow to your uterus, placenta and baby.
Once you’re in a relaxed almost meditative state, your blood pressure regulates more easily, stress is reduced, and your pulse and regulatory rates lower. Learning to relax early in pregnancy can give you a head start on labor prep by strengthening the mind-body connection and helping you let go and surrender which can be helpful during labor. Relaxing your whole body also can help relax overly tight (hypertonic) pelvic floor muscles which directly impact labor.
Prenatal massage that starts in the first trimester supports optimal pelvic and body alignment through pregnancy into your 4th trimester after baby arrives. Imbalances (think that right lower back or hip or headache that always flares up) will only become greater with the added weight of your quickly growing baby and massage will help the body adjust more easier to this load.
Lastly, Having your pelvis aligned and balanced from all sides promotes optimal fetal placement resulting in easier births.
If you or a friend are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, its never too early or late to get a prenatal or postpartum massage. If you’re new around here schedule a clarity call via vitalflowperinatal.com or visit the client portal on my website to book your appointment if you have already established care.