Almost everybody loves a relaxing massage that can surely revitalize your body and your senses. But when you are pregnant and you badly want to get a massage to ease your aching muscles, is it really safe to get one? Hence, it is important to understand how massage can be beneficial or harmful during pregnancy.

Before you decide to get a prenatal massage, it is very important that you first consult your health care provider. Some doctors may choose not to recommend prenatal massage because it hasn’t been comprehensively studied yet. To add to that, certification standards as well as safety concerns are factors that would always be an issue for some health care professionals.

There are actually controversies hounding claims that pregnancy massage during the first trimester can lead to miscarriage. With many miscarriages occurring during this particular period, many doctors and therapists prefer not to recommend it. This recommendation is made even if no scientific evidence has been found to prove or even disprove such claims. Thus, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine advises all pregnant women to get their doctor’s consent before undergoing any therapy.

While there are no established contraindications yet, it is safe to avoid having prenatal massage when you have a high risk pregnancy, or if you have a condition like pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH), or placental abruption. These conditions may put you at risk for preterm labor, and it’s best to avoid prenatal massage to prevent any complications. If you also feel nauseous, or you have been experiencing morning sickness, prenatal massage may not be a good idea.

With all these factors to consider, some pregnant women still choose to include massage therapy as part of their prenatal care plan. Some women may be convinced that pregnancy massage can cause numerous health benefits. Among the positive effects that studies were able to associate with prenatal massage are lowered anxiety level, better sleep, improved circulation, reduced edema and an overall improvement of mood. And just when pregnancy discomforts abound, it may also decrease back, joint and leg pain.

A study conducted on the effects of prenatal massage on depressed women also showed that it can increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones are appropriately called “feel good hormones” because it directly influences a person’s mood. It may also decrease cortisol levels, which is an indicator of stress.

If you decide to include prenatal massage as part of your plan to maintain a healthy pregnancy, work closely with your health care provider. It is also vital that you carefully choose a certified massage therapist, with specific training on pregnancy massage. You may even ask your doctor and other health care professionals for any referrals. Choosing a skilled massage therapist is crucial in ensuring that your safety will never be compromised.

Pregnancy demands that decisions are carefully made especially when it concerns the health of a mother and her unborn child. With so many alternative therapies claiming health benefits, it is always best to get your doctor’s opinion before trying out any therapy. In this particular case, you need to openly talk with your doctor whether the benefits will outweigh any potential risks.