Pregnancy Symptoms by Trimester: Using Massage to Reduce Discomfort

Written by Julieta Hernandez , Posted in Articles, Massage Therapy, Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Symptoms by Trimester

Pregnancy affects a woman’s body physically and emotionally for the entire cycle. Even women who have had other pregnancies experience the changes to some degree. Each trimester presents unique challenges with which a woman must cope. Massage therapy is one way to manage some of the uncomfortable changes and create a more pleasant experience for the new mom.

First Trimester Symptoms

During the first three months, many changes happen and the first-time mother may struggle to deal with them. The baby is rapidly developing and will begin to move around eight weeks. You may have blood tests near the end of the first trimester to determine the genetic health of the baby. These and other symptoms can increase your anxiety level.
By the end of the first month, nausea (morning-sickness) can kick in. At six weeks, the body changes become more pronounced and at seven weeks, mood swings start to occur. The first trimester is full of unknowns and your anxiety level can be high.

First Trimester Massage Solutions

With anxiety, nausea and mood swings, a gentle, relaxing massage is recommended. Swedish massage is one style that focuses on relaxing your mind and body to remove the stress of hormonal changes. It is a safe massage to use during the first trimester when miscarriage is a risk. Make sure your therapist is trained in pregnancy massage and knows the limitations.

Second Trimester Symptoms

At six months the baby is growing quickly and you may suddenly feel much heavier. The nausea goes away and you may find yourself full of energy. You may begin retaining water and find that your ankles and feet are swollen. Leg cramps are common during the second trimester. Your appetite increases. Lower back pain may occur because of the extra weight you are carrying for the baby.

Second Trimester Massage Solutions

Massage of the soft tissues helps to move fluid out of the joints back into the circulatory system. This reduces swelling and helps remove waste products from the muscles and tissues. Massage of the leg and back muscles relieves the tension. As your body changes, treat yourself to a gentle spa treatment to improve the outlook of your own body.

Third Trimester Symptoms

The third semester is like the last stretch for a marathon runner. You’re tired and anxious for it to be over. You’re also anxious about being prepared for having this baby. Your body obviously looks pregnant, which can cause more stress. Your back pain may continue and you may feel more clumsy as fatigue sets in. This is also the time when mood swings become pronounced because of the hormonal changes before birth.

Third Trimester Massage Solutions

Massage therapy has been shown to reduce the stress hormones, such as norepinephrine and cortisol, in the body. It also increases the “happy” hormones, dopamine and serotonin. This change in hormones has been shown to reduce birth complications. The emotional swings also level off more with massage.

Sciatic nerve issues from the weight of the baby on the lower back are reduced by muscle massage. Lower back and leg pain can be reduced dramatically. Leg cramps are reduced by releasing tension on the nerves.

Massage as a Part of Pregnancy

Therapeutic massage is a way to cope with uncomfortable symptoms you will have during pregnancy. While your first thoughts are on the baby, you need to keep yourself healthy, both physically and mentally. Take the time to take care of yourself so you will have the best experience during this pregnancy.


Julieta Hernandez

Julieta is the owner of Matrix Spa & Massage in Salt Lake City, UT. She and her staff pride themselves on providing the best massages in a truly comfortable and relaxed environment.

Massage Therapy FAQ’s

The law always requires that you be appropriately covered with sheets or towels to keep you comfortable and warm. If you start feeling uncomfortable or exposed, speak up. Your therapist will respect your wishes and work with you to make the massage session a comfortable one.
No, only undress as much as you are comfortable with. Some people prefer undressing completely, while others prefer to keep undergarments on. You'll have privacy in your massage room to undress before the session and redress afterwards.
It depends on your massage therapy goals. Some people get a monthly massage to manage stress or to prevent health problems. Others opt for weekly sessions if they need relief from injuries and chronic tension.
Licensing and certification mean that the massage therapist can legally practice massage in your city or state. To get this license, they must have performed several hours of training at an accredited school, past the extensive licensure exam, and have paid any relevant licensing fees.
Every insurance plan works a little differently, so your best bet is to contact your insurer directly. Some plans do cover alternative therapies including chiropractic and massage. You will likely need a doctor's prescription first. If you don't have health insurance, or if it doesn't cover massage therapy, you can find massage therapy coupons and discounts on our site.
How much depends on how pleased you are with the service and how much the massage costs (the full price, not any discounted fees). One easy trick is to think about how you would tip a waiter after a similarly priced restaurant meal. This is often 15-20% or more if you received exceptional service.
Let your massage therapist know before the session if there are areas on your body that you don't want to be touched. They will have the training and experience to give you a therapeutic massage while working around ticklish or sensitive places like your feet or abdomen.
Yes, absolutely. You should always speak up if something is uncomfortable. Secondly, keep the lines of communication open during deep tissue massage or sports injury massages. Your therapist needs the feedback to work on you properly and without aggravating an injury. On the other hand, if you are looking for relaxation, it's often best not to talk unless necessary. This lets your mind as well as your body release tension. With the right mindful breathing technique, you may even achieve a stress relieving meditative state during the massage.
Most likely, unless your doctor says otherwise. Prenatal massage can reduce and relieve common pregnancy issues like lower and upper back pain, sciatic nerve irritation, swelling, tension headaches, heartburn and constipation, and more. Let your massage therapist know that you're pregnant so they can use the right techniques during the session.

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