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Prenatal Massage in NYC - A Guide to a Peaceful Pregnancy

Prenatal Massage: A Guide to a Peaceful Pregnancy

Ruth Anselm, Senior LMT, explains what prenatal massage is & why it helps. Read below to find out how we can help you have a smooth pregnancy.

Pregnancy is accompanied by thousands of emotional and physical changes. Even the “easiest” and “best” ones come with an array of challenges. An effective prenatal massage therapist can help with these challenges, both throughout your three trimesters and after pregnancy. In decades past, most women were advised to avoid massage during the first trimester. Medical studies have since found that as long as you are healthy, massage during the first trimester is totally okay!

Whether you’re looking for a massage therapist in midtown or downtown New York, you’ll want to make sure you are seeing a massage therapist who has experience with pre and postnatal massage. One who can help set some of your concerns at ease. There are a tremendous number of things that newly pregnant women are told they “should” and “must” do or not do. These messages can be overwhelming 🙂 A great prenatal massage therapist makes sure that you feel listened to, comfortable, and that lines of communication are open.  

From Finding Out to a New Family: What happens along the way? 

The following is a loose guideline on what to expect and when you’ll likely experience it. As well as how to find massage therapy in midtown, downtown, and the greater New York area to help.  

1st Trimester/Prenatal Massage: “It’s positive!” to “This is really happening!”

This is the first 12 to14 weeks where women tend to feel exhaustion, mild to severe nausea, hormonal fluctuations, headaches and constipation. During this time prenatal massage is helpful for treating headaches and for managing stress levels. However, if you have a high risk pregnancy, massage is not recommended during the first trimester. If nausea is severe you likely won’t be interested in massage or able to travel to it. 

If you’re feeling well, though, this is a great time to start getting into a regular routine of self care. This includes prenatal massage therapy! Keeping yourself as relaxed as possible is very important throughout the entire pregnancy to create a happy home environment for the baby that they will want to stay and grow in. 

2nd Trimester: Mama’s got a whole new body.

Somewhere between 13 and 27 weeks you will start to notice your belly growing. Physically, things start changing very quickly during this time. Many suggest this is the time you will feel your best. It is also when prenatal massage starts becoming more essential for maintaining maximum comfort. 

You may have already started experiencing Round Ligament Pain. This is normal (it’s a sharper pain around the groin and front of the hip area). Unfortunately not much can be done for this except making minor adjustments on your own when standing up. It is, however, a foreshadowing of what many women begin to experience around weeks 20-30. 

Your hips start to widen relatively fast to support your growing belly. A typical complaint may be a deep ache in the outer hips and/or low back and often feels constant! The muscles supporting this area tend to go into spasm in response to the expansion. They benefit greatly from detailed and specific massage to release them. 

Leg cramps are another common issue. They can wake you up in the night suddenly or just be an ongoing tight area. There are some specific points around the ankles and feet that should be avoided. A trained prenatal massage therapist will know about them. Work in the hips and upper legs can help with blood flow to the lower leg. More gentle work can be done in the lower legs to help relieve cramping. 

3rd Trimester: Please give up your seat to the elderly, disabled, and PREGNANT LADY!

This is 28 weeks up to the time you give birth. At this point your body is likely dying for a prenatal massage! Although you’re getting so close, the last 10-12 weeks can feel longer than the rest of the pregnancy combined. You have trouble with shoes and stairs… and SLEEP. 

Sleep is vital and the most important thing you can give yourself is rest. Getting comfortable is what it is all about now. Having a date with yourself and your massage therapist may only bring temporary relief, but often leads to the best sleep you get all week later that evening! The strain on your body tends to be pretty substantial. Some women notice it just in their legs and hips. Others in their neck and jaw, any and all parts of the back, and many times the feet. You name it, we’ve heard and seen it in our prenatal massage clients. 

You never know how your body will respond to pregnancy and it’s always unique to the individual. Working to create as much ease in the areas of discomfort can make more room for the baby to find a comfortable position. Anytime more room is made, that little child is going to find it and take it. If muscles are relatively relaxed it helps with efficiency in the body when moving with that extra weight. Later it helps with the labor!

4th Trimester/Postnatal Massage: Your baby is here! 

Hopefully you have had few to no complications. It is recommended to wait for clearance from the doctor before getting postnatal massage after having a baby. Opinions range anywhere from just a few days to 6 weeks after giving birth. The latter being for women who deliver via C-Section. 

The benefits to having a postnatal massage are: 

  • Providing stress relief by decreasing cortisol levels 
  • Increasing blood and oxygen circulation to help with the healing process
  • Reducing muscle cramps
  • Smoothing scar tissue in cases of cesarean
  • Preventing postpartum depression 
  • Teaching at home techniques to help with the flow of breastmilk
  • Preventing blocked ducts in cases of breast-feeding mothers 

One of the things that happens the most after having a baby is that women tend to forget all about their own self care since they now have someone else to prioritize. What is vital to remember is if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be in very great shape to take care of the ones you love. You might be able to for a little while, but when fatigue sets in, you will really start to notice. Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your little one 🙂 

At Bodyworks DW we Specialize in Prenatal Massage & Postnatal Massage

We offer postnatal and prenatal massage in the New York area, in Midtown and the Financial District. Would you like to schedule a professional prenatal massage with a qualified massage therapist to support you and your little one today? It’s never too late to take care of yourself no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in. Book it and you’ll see what we mean 🙂 

Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our prenatal massage Midtown or prenatal massage Fidi studios!

Abdominal Restrictions causing disconnects in your body?

LMT, Ruth Anselm talks about Fascial Restrictions in your Abdominals

Ruth Anselm, Senior LMT at Bodyworks DW, is our therapist of the month for June!

Read her interview below where she explains how fascial restrictions in the abdominals cause disconnects in your body & her reasons for becoming a medical massage therapist. 

Ruth Anselm

Most common pain issue you see?

Neck into shoulders + upper back, for sure. Although, you'd be surprised how many people need work done on their abdominals. 

How do you work to correct this issue in the abdominals?

Asking questions helps me determine what area needs addressing first. Also, knowing the quality of your pain is important in understanding the likely causes of your pattern. It helps me decide how best to help! For many of you with shoulder and neck pain, the areas that need work are in the front of the body. Working on areas such as the pectorals/chest, abdominals + diaphragm, muscles of the front of the neck, jaw, and the scalp can help immensely. However, the actual area of your pain will always get some needed direct attention too 🙂

The "homework" I give depends on the individual. Some folks need to DO LESS! For those clients, I'll offer a restorative yoga pose to open the chest. I'll also ask them to incorporate more things into their week that make them feel relaxed. This includes taking walks in nature, baths, etcetera.  Other clients need to actively stretch areas after warming up or add a little more blood flowing throughout the week. Taking more frequent breaks from desk work to roll shoulders, glance upward and breathe also go a long way!

Why are the abdominals one of your favorite areas to work?

Fascial restrictions in abdominals often disconnect upper body from lower body. For those who don't know, fascia is a sheet of connective tissue covering or binding together body structures (such as muscles). Most clients are surprised with the effectiveness of this work and will comment that they haven’t ever had it done... and didn’t realize they needed it.

Working the abdominal muscles and fascia can clue someone into how the upper & lower half of the body are connected. For many clients, they are often thought of as two separate areas that don’t affect one another. For instance, when abdominals are worked in relation to the front of the hips, it can lead to a fresher understanding of their body as a whole. To deepen this understanding, a therapist can work the abdominals and the front of the hips at the same time. The client can actually feel how one is pulling the other. For many who experience a “slouchy posture” the disconnect is from rib cage to abdominals. By opening up that relationship the client is able to feel more room for breath and ease in the chest. It's amazing how everything is interconnected.

What inspired you to become a Medical Massage Therapist?

A few things inspired me to become a medical massage therapist. One of them being my own pain from injuries sustained from years of being an athlete/dancer. Another being the developing of pain management techniques learned through years of studying yoga. I also experimented quite a bit with rolling on balls and rollers to get relief. The criteria I had for selecting massage therapy as my next move were taking all my knowledge of the body and experience and directing it in one place. The desire being to impact others in a positive way and make it a career versus a job.

Want to experiment with rolling on balls and foam rollers? Here's our suggestions on what to get:

Favorite massage therapy success story?

I had a client who experienced chronic pain since childhood. She had discomfort breathing, intense jaw pain, and an inability to sit or stand comfortably. Thankfully, we made incredible progress after a major shift in our first session! The intense jaw pain disappeared entirely, and the client gained the ability to sit cross legged as well as stand feeling even. The oldest of issues has taken repeated, regular sessions to help release the holding patterns that have crept in. This client's pain is under control & the work we've done has allowed great relief in activities of daily living.

The awareness and attention about the body that the client has gained is the most helpful and sustainable aspect of treatment. It helps them keep track and check in, noticing and changing patterns that contribute to the pain.

Book an Appointment with Ruth!