Sports Massage and Pregnancy

Sports Massage and Pregnancy

You may have heard that massage and pregnancy don't mix. If you use sports massage as a way to reach your peak performance, you may question if you can continue to use this therapy while pregnant. Here we look at how sports massage and pregnancy affect each other.

What Is Sport Massage?

Sport massage refers to a very intense and penetrating massage intended to relax and loosen muscles, specifically those muscles used most in whatever sport you perform. This often involves manipulation of the muscles in the torso and back. There are many reasons people might gets a sports massage. Supporters of sport massage say it can reduce fatigue, reduce swelling, ease tense muscles, increase flexibility and prevent injuries. Athletes often rely on this form of massage before, during and after their performances. Sports massage has also been heralded as an restorative aid for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. But is it a good idea while pregnant?

Is It Safe?

There is a lot of controversy regarding massage, sports or otherwise, while pregnant. Many practitioners will not give any type of massage to a woman in her first trimester, because this is when most miscarriages occur. The conventional wisdom isn't that massage causes miscarriage. But, some think certain manipulations, such as abdominal pressure, might hurry it along, if it was meant to happen. In truth, no research has been done to prove or disprove the suspicion massage might cause miscarriage. Yet, most practitioners don't want to take the chance of getting sued, should something happen. In general, it is considered a good idea to wait until the second trimester to get any sort of massage.

Take It Easy

Sports massage isn't necessarily the best massage to get at any point in your pregnancy. The whole point of sports massage is to help your body perform at its athletic peak. To soothe your leg muscles after a challenging run, or open up your arms and chest before a vigorous tennis match. These exercises are wonderful, but they aren't something you should necessarily be doing while pregnant. You should be doing whatever exercises your doctor recommends to keep your body healthy during your pregnancy, walks, pre natal yoga and other pregnancy focused exercise routines. It isn't likely your doctor is going to recommend you engage in anything vigorous enough to need the deep tissue work of a sports massage. Pregnancy is a special time in your life, so accept a temporary new set of rules and treat your body gently.  

Try Pregnancy Massage

If you're a fan of massage before your pregnancy, you might be devastated to think you may not be able to indulge in it during your pregnancy. There are so many conditions that occur during pregnancy that massage is geared toward helping. Aches, swelling, sluggish legs and general discomfort may all be crying out for the touch of an experienced massage therapist. Well, don't despair. While sports massage may not be the way to go, there is a whole school of massage focusing on pregnancy. Pregnancy massage can help reduce stress, decrease swelling, relieve aches and pains, and reduce anxiety and depression. A skilled practitioner will know how to accommodate the health concerns of a pregnant woman. Again, most practitioners won't perform this massage until after the first trimester. But, the real aches and pains don't usually start until around then, so it all works out.

Let sports massage go during your pregnancy. Deep tissue massages are still controversial regarding pregnancy. It can't clearly be said whether or not they may cause trouble for your baby. Instead, seek out a licensed massage therapist for a pregnancy massage.