Pregnancy can be a joyful time, full of hope and excitement. But, the nine months leading up to birth can also be uncomfortable and even painful. As your body changes to accommodate your growing baby, you may experience neck, shoulder and back pain. In addition, you may also find yourself feeling tired and stressed during pregnancy. For many women, an at-home massage with an electric back massager seems like the answer to many woos. But, is it safe to use a back massager while pregnant?
The good news is, in most cases, it is safe to use an electric back massager during pregnancy. It is natural to worry about pressure and vibrations, such as those from an electric massager, during pregnancy. However, your womb provides an incredible protection and insulation system for your baby. The amniotic sac, which is filled with fluid, acts as a protective cushion around the baby.
Benefits of using an electric massager during pregnancy
Using an electric back massager during pregnancy isn’t just safe, it can also very beneficial. An at-home massage can play a role in relieving many of the discomforts that comes with pregnancy.
Pain relief – During pregnancy, your uterus expands and your center of gravity shifts. This puts extra strain on your back, neck and shoulders. Over two-thirds of pregnant women experience lower back pain. An electric massager can be an easy, effective way to sooth muscles and relieve starting at the neck all the way to the lower back.
Sciatica relief – As if back pain wasn’t enough, many pregnant women also experience sciatica. The sciatic nerve starts just below the uterus and runs down the back of the leg. During pregnancy, the new weight of the uterus can compress the sciatic nerve. Symptoms of sciatica range from sharp, shooting pains in the hips to numbness in the legs. An electric back massager can be used on the lower back and hips to help relieve sciatica.
Stress relief and relaxation- During pregnancy, your body is not the only thing that is changing. At times, it can feel that your entire life is going through an extreme makeover. Worry and stress are normal parts of pregnancy, but they can also pose problems. Stress can contribute to insomnia and can increase the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and low birthweight. Using an electric back massager, which can feel calming and comforting, can play an important role in relaxing and overcoming stress.
Improved sleep – Up to 50% of pregnant women suffer from insomnia. At a time when women need sleep the most, not being able to fall asleep can be especially frustrating. Inability to sleep stems from several sources, including pain and stress. Since an electric back massager can ease the causes of sleeplessness, a bedtime massage may result in a more restful night.
Use caution with electric massagers during pregnancy
Using an electric back massager during pregnancy has many benefits, but there are times when you should avoid their use. First and foremost, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor about your specific situation before using an electric back massager.
During the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is the highest, pregnant women should not use electric back massagers. Instead, save this treat for the second and third trimester, when pain is likely to be greater and risk of miscarriage less. In addition, pregnant women should not use electric massagers on their lower legs. During pregnancy, blood volume increases by roughly 50%, and blood flow can be sluggish in the legs. This can increase a risk of blood clots. Deep pressure or percussive massagers used on the legs could dislodge blood clots.
The best back massagers
When looking for the best electric back massager to use during your pregnancy, there are a few features to look for.
Massage pillows with handles – An electric massager that wraps around the body with handles allows you to focus pressure on the neck, shoulders and upper back. Or, move it downwards to focus on the lower back and sciatic nerve. This style of massager offers the most versatility and will remain usable through your second and third trimesters and will be helpful for postpartum pains.
Adjustable intensity – While deep kneading can be helpful on the shoulders and upper back, light pressure and gliding or rolling strokes is often best on the lower back. An electric massager with adjustable intensity settings allows you to select the style of massage that is best for you and your baby.
Rechargeable and portable – During pregnancy, it can be difficult to get comfortable, no matter where you sit. A rechargeable massager, which is light enough to travel with, allows you to get a massage while lying on your side, watching television on the couch or in your desk chair at work.