Prenatal Massage Training
Prenatal massage is a form of massage practiced on pregnant women to help ease some of the uncomfortable symptoms of their condition. Massage therapists trained in prenatal massage also study labor massage and massage for new mothers during postpartum.
Before a therapist can begin giving prenatal massages, she must first be trained and licensed. Programs vary from state to state, but usually require 500 to 800 hours of training. The therapist must pass a licensing exam before the medical board will issue her a license. To keep her license and insurance, the massage therapist must take continuing-education courses. While there is some discussion of prenatal massage in massage school, most practitioners seek additional certification specifically in prenatal massage before taking on pregnant clients.
Prenatal massage therapists study anatomy and physiology as they pertain to stages of pregnancy and fetal development. Massage can increase body temperature, blood pressure and circulation. Because of these and other factors, it is important to know how massage can affect a pregnant woman's body, especially in the case of a high-risk pregnancy.
Because of the emotional elements of pregnancy, it is important for prenatal massage therapists to understand how to use touch to soothe the client. Massage is an excellent way to reduce stress. It helps clients increase their body awareness, adjusting to the change in the center of gravity that occurs in the later months. Being more confident and comfortable in her own body helps a woman have an easier pregnancy.
The training to be a prenatal massage therapist includes a discussion of the techniques that are safe to use during a normal pregnancy. There are special support devices designed to help pregnant women lay on their sides comfortably during the massage. Other body supports include a depression in the stomach area that even allow the woman to lie face-down on a massage table. Ways to position and massage the pregnant client are all reviewed during the training period.
Some massage techniques are safe even in the most high-risk pregnancies. For example, passive touch simply involves resting the hands lightly on the body to warm tissues, increase circulation and reduce stress. Energy techniques like reiki as also safe options for high-risk mothers. The prenatal therapist learns which techniques are safe for various types of risky pregnancies.
Some women have worried that abdominal massage during pregnancy can dislodge the placenta from the uterine wall. This actually cannot occur, due to the very solid connection between the two. A more common worry is that having a massage during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage, which is also not the case. Evidence shows that the majority of miscarriages occur because the fetus was not healthy, or due to a disorder of the uterus. Statistically, miscarriages do not occur more frequently in mothers who have undergone prenatal massage.