Not only have I met lots of sweet families (and their babies!) over the past few years, but I’ve also gotten to know some amazingly gifted professionals, too. It’s one of my favorite parts of being a photographer.
Last year I connected with Katie Coston, licensed massage therapist and yoga instructor, and owner of KatieBEWorks. She’s genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and she has a very calming presence. I offered to shoot some photos for her… and when she offered me a massage in return, I couldn’t say no! Who turns down a massage?!
And it was so glorious. I was so relaxed that I was afraid of drooling on the pillow, and when it was over, I really didn’t want to leave her cozy studio. I had almost forgotten what it’s like to be in a room where I’m not tripping over baby toys and dodging tiny toddlers!
So I can personally vouch for how gifted Katie is at massages, and how she helps you feel at home right away. If you’re expecting, prenatal massage is such a great way to relax and treat yourself. After all, it’s hard work growing a baby.
If you’re past the pregnancy stage and you’re up several times a night with a newborn, mama, do yourself a favor and make an appointment for a massage. I can’t tell you how rejuvenated and human you feel after having those aching muscles worked on. I think that’s probably true of any mama with young kids, especially if you’re routinely picking up little ones, loading them in car seats, carrying a heavy diaper bag, etc. The wear and stress on your body really adds up.
I asked Katie to do a quick Q&A about the benefits of massage for especially for pregnant and postpartum mamas, which she graciously agreed to do. If you’re like me, you might be in the habit of considering a massage a treat for every now and then… but actually, there are physical, emotional and mental benefits of regular self-care. I’m trying to make massages a more frequent habit, because a healthy mama is a happy mama!
Q: What are some benefits of getting a massage while pregnant?
A: More and more research is going into exploring the benefits of massage. The list is long and even more so for someone who is presenting with unique circumstances, such as pregnancy. Receiving massage during pregnancy or postpartum falls under the category of Prenatal Massage or Maternity Massage. The benefits may vary depending on the pregnancy itself; however, in general, Prenatal Massage can assist in reducing stress, decreasing swelling in the arms and legs, relieving aches and pains in the muscles and joints, and helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
Several changes occur in your body during pregnancy, and often women will be experiencing several different emotions both in anticipation of the birth but also with the influence of increased hormones. One of the most valuable assets to receiving massage on a regular basis while pregnant or having just given birth is that it provides you with a safe environment that is caring and nurturing allowing you space to reflect and re-energize.
Q: Why is it important to use a massage therapist who is trained to offer prenatal massage?
A: It is important to use a massage therapist who is trained in Prenatal Massage to protect yourself and your child. There are so many changes that occur in your body and potential for causing harm. Saying this is not to deter you from receiving a massage. In the past, it was considered harmful to receive a massage while pregnant, but this has since been proven wrong, with research showing that massage provides considerable benefits.
It is necessary, however, to stress the importance of having someone with you who is aware of what is happening to both your body and the baby’s, and has an understanding of possible warning signs and risk, along with necessary training to assist in the unlikely event of a problem. Not only should you be sure to find a therapist who has the required training, but also one that you can connect with who makes you feel at peace.
A therapist should be aware of the honor it is to have two individuals on their table at once, and be respectful of those unique needs.
Q: At what stage of pregnancy is massage most beneficial?
A: Massage is great for all stages of pregnancy, as well as for after giving birth. The focus of the massage changes along with the stages of the pregnancy.
Typically a massage therapist will ask you a series of questions before your appointment. Depending on your answers, they may ask you to consider postponing the massage if, for example, you have been having severe issues with morning sickness.
In the first trimester, the therapist should focus on providing a soothing and relaxing massage to help with comfort, encourage rest, and possibly assist in reducing nausea.
For the second trimester, the therapist will shift to not only assisting with relaxation, but also focusing on reducing swelling. During the last trimester, it is important to help reduce discomfort in the lower back and hips.
Postpartum massage can help with reducing stress, and assist in recovering from giving birth. If your doctor has informed you of being a high-risk pregnancy, a therapist should require written consent from the doctor before proceeding with your sessions.
Q: How is prenatal yoga class different from a regular class?
A: A prenatal yoga class differs from regular classes because it focuses on assisting the mother at different stages of the pregnancy, and emphasizes asanas, or poses, as well as pranayama, or breathing exercises, that can help during delivery.
If you are a seasoned yogini, it is ok to attend your regular yoga classes up to the last trimester. You should speak with your instructor to learn necessary adjustments to prevent harm to your body.
During the 4-6 month mark, your body begins to release relaxin to help loosen your joints to allow for the widening of your hips during childbirth; therefore it is necessary to adjust your practice so that you do not damage your joints.
Furthermore, it is essential to be cautious and supportive of your abdomen to not only protect the child, but also avoid any injury such as abdominal splitting. A prenatal class takes all of these concerns into account. It is also a wonderful opportunity to begin developing a deeper connection between yourself and your child.
Q: Can prenatal yoga help you prepare for labor & delivery?
A: Prenatal yoga can provide you with excellent tools for labor and delivery. Stretching your hips in a specific fashion can potentially ease your body into the natural adjustments that are occurring. Prenatal yoga can also provide you with fantastic breathing technique to assist with anxiety and pain management during labor. Lastly, it can help to strengthen your pelvic floor in preparation for giving birth as well as assisting with your recovery process.
I’m a photographer based in The Woodlands, TX, specializing in maternity, Fresh 48, newborn and family portraits. I offer a luxury photography experience to mamas (and mamas-to-be!) so you don’t have to worry about a thing! Click the Book Now button below to learn more about scheduling your photo session.