Guest Post by Shellie Braeuner of Kids Audiobook Reviews.
Prenatal massage is a growing trend in the United States.
When a woman is pregnant, there are massive changes in her body. Women’s hormones change how she holds weight. Muscles in the abdomen and back tighten and flex with the growing child. As breasts change size and weight, even the shoulders can become sore and tight.
Pregnancy-related aches and pains are unpleasant. Having your husband or significant other rub your shoulders and back is nice, but it doesn’t beat a professional massage. Prenatal massage is performed by a professional masseuse who has experience with the unique shape and special needs of a pregnant woman.
Prenatal massage helps pregnant women relive stress, manage pain and increase circulation all without the danger of drugs. Obstetric nurses, doulas and midwives know massage can help a woman during labor. The therapist needs specialized training to help women in this very special time in their lives.
Be sure to choose a massage therapist that has certification in both massage and the specialization of prenatal therapeutic massage.
In order to be certified, a prenatal massage therapist must learn how massage can help during pregnancy and what complications would make massage risky for the mother or child. They need to understand the changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy. You want to find a massage therapist that is familiar with the different positions that will help the mother-to-be while carrying her child and before and during labor are another vital skill. Finally, newborn and infant massage techniques round out the training.
There is no federal standard. But across the country, 37 states require certification or licensure. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCBTMB is the largest certification board in the country. They require not only proof that a potential therapist has taken accredited coursework, but also require a thorough background check and in addition to passing a national exam.
When looking for a Massage therapist, start by talking to your OB/GYN. Your doctor will help you determine what is safe for your pregnancy and help you find a reputable massage therapist. Check with the instructors of any pre-natal classes you attend. They may have a list of massage therapists they recommend. Finally check with your nurse-midwife. Many licensed midwives are also trained in labor massage and are happy to work with a mother-to-be before her due date.