Each woman experiences each pregnancy differently. But one of the most common experiences that pregnant women struggle with is the discomfort and aches that come with the additional weight. This can lead to pain, tiredness, and backaches.
When you’re tired and your muscles are tense, you just want to relax. Carrying all that extra weight is challenging! In such cases, many people would go for a massage. Going to a professional massage therapist is best, but can be a challenge logistically. If that’s not available, home massage chairs like the Ideal Massage Chair are a frequent substitute.
But is it safe for pregnant women to use a massage chair?
This article looks in depth at massage chair and pregnancy issues, and goes over what you need to know. There are instances when a pregnant woman can benefit well from a massage chair but there are also instances that it can be dangerous.
- 1 Massage Chair and Pregnancy: Is it Safe for Mama and Baby?
- 2 When Should Pregnant Women Avoid Massage Chairs?
- 3 Benefits Of Massage Chairs For Pregnant Women
- 4 Alternatives To Massage Chairs
Massage Chair and Pregnancy: Is it Safe for Mama and Baby?
There isn’t really much study about the effects of the massage chair on the baby or the pregnancy, unfortunately. This circumstance generally means that the answer is “we don’t know, so… no.”
Those who agree that pregnant women can use a massage chair argue that the soothing vibrations provided by high-quality massage chairs don’t have much impact on the fetus. The rollers, motors, and vibration are therapeutic and can help in the relaxation of the pregnant mother.
On the other hand, there are also some who say that massage chairs should be avoided by women due to the following reasons:
- Risk Of Premature Labor – Some believe that there are pressure points on the back that could stimulate such a case. However, there is still no evidence that proves that this is a fact.
- Risk Of Overheating – Some massage chairs and massage cushions have a heating feature. Some believe that this can also heat up the body and be harmful to the baby. Some believe that it can cause hyperthermia, which could further lead to congenital disabilities. Although overheating may cause such negative effects on the baby, the heating features of massage chairs aren’t hot enough to result in hyperthermia. The heating pads are also mostly located on the calves and back and not all over the body. They just provide additional heat for improved comfort.
- Effects Of Electromagnetic Fields – Again, there is no solid evidence that supports the electromagnetic fields have a negative effect or any effect at all on the baby or the pregnant woman using the massage chair. All home appliances produce an EMF, but some manufacturers focus on lowering the amount, such as with Low EMF Infrared Saunas. As with all things pregnancy, there is an abundance of caution.
Thank god for Dr. Emily Oster and her books (which you should get!)
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When Should Pregnant Women Avoid Massage Chairs?
Although we can see that massage chairs are generally safe for healthy pregnant women, precaution should still be done. This is especially true for high-risk pregnancies. If you know that you have a high-risk pregnancy, then you should be very careful with everything you do to your body.
In some instances, massage chairs aren’t the main reason for the dangers. Pregnant women who have additional issues make it more dangerous for them to use massage chairs as compared to healthy pregnant women. If you are pregnant and are experiencing any of these, it is highly recommended to completely avoid using massage chairs.
- Pregnant women who can’t fit in the massage chair – Those who are in their third trimester may not fit in the massage chairs anymore. Don’t try to squeeze yourself in because it won’t be good for you or your baby. Remember that the rollers are still going to move when the massage starts. Not properly fitting in the massage chair can hurt you when the body is not properly positioned.
- Pregnant women who are near their term – If you are experiencing lower back pains, don’t simply turn to massage chairs as a solution. Although massage chairs can help with lower back pain, you must also remember that it is also a sign of labor. You might already be in labor so it would be better to contact your doctor than try to remedy the pain using the massage chair.
- Pregnant women experiencing additional health issues – Pregnant women who experience inflammation, swelling, and severe headaches shouldn’t turn to massage chairs to relax in the hopes of making themselves feel better. Instead, they should consult with a doctor who can help identify the cause and cure to their other health issues.
Benefits Of Massage Chairs For Pregnant Women
For further safety precautions, even healthy pregnant women should ask their doctor to clear them for massage chair use. There are a lot of doctors who allow their pregnant patients to use the massage chairs because they know of the many benefits it could bring. Among those benefits are the following:
Back And Leg Pain Relief
Lower back pain and leg pain are common for pregnant women. This is because of the growing belly, additional weight of the baby, and the pressure the baby puts on the body while developing. A massage chair helps with the pain by working on the tensed muscles and helping them to relax.
Lowers Stress And Improves Mood
Massage therapies are great for pregnant women because they do not only deal with the pains of the muscles but they also help with depression. Due to their hormonal levels, women may seem moody and not themselves during their pregnancy.
They also experience anxiety and stress.
By going through 15 minutes of massage on a massage table, they can be lead to focus on how relaxed their body feels. It takes away the discomfort that they feel in their body and improves their mood.
In a relaxed state, they are better at focusing their attention on the current situation and what bad things could happen to them or their baby. This helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Help Boost The Immune System
The pressure to keep your body healthy is high with pregnant women. This is because they can’t just take medicine to help cure them of any sickness they might get. Some medications are bad for the baby so preventing themselves from getting sick is the best thing to do.
There is some research that massage can boost the immune system (though it’s preliminary). This is because the massages help with improved circulation in the body. This means that the toxins on the body are more efficiently removed.
Also, the improved circulation makes sure that the white blood cells, which help fight infections and diseases, are well distributed in the body.
Alternatives To Massage Chairs
The best alternative to a massage chair for a pregnant woman is an actual professional massage therapist who specializes in massages for pregnant women. The massage techniques they use are called prenatal massages and these professionals should be certified.
Prenatal massage therapy is great for pregnant women. However, many therapists would only accept those who are already at their second trimester. The first trimester is a very crucial time because it is when everything starts forming in the womb.
Pregnant women will usually have a Swedish massage to help with the thigh muscles. Deep tissue massage and other types of massages are avoided. Also, it is important for the pregnant woman to be in the proper position during the massage. This is done in a side-lying position with pillows to help support the body.
Pregnant women can still do exercises until their term. In fact, many suggest that women should remain mobile during their pregnancy. Light exercises will help with the pain and help keep the body fit so you can also easily recover after giving birth.
Swimming is one of the best exercises a pregnant woman can have. Being in the water helps reduce the stress on the legs because you are floating on water. It can help with the joints especially the ankles. Just be careful when walking on the pool sides because it can be slippery.
Other light exercises for pregnant women would include:
- Indoor cycling
Yoga is good for pregnant women. But you have to be careful about the yoga poses you do. Prenatal yoga is specifically designed for pregnant women and is what you want to stick to. It is not only safe but it also helps prepare the woman for labor while promoting good health.
Aromatherapy is another good alternative for massage chairs if you are looking to relax your body. There are lots of different essential oils and incense out there that are safe for pregnant women, including lavender and chamomile.
Last update on 2022-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
However, there are also some that should be completely avoided because they can cause premature labor. Such essential oils to avoid would include but are not limited to clary sage, clove, rosemary, cinnamon, and jasmine.