Many women claim that a foot massager helped them get through the assorted aches and pains associated with their pregnancies, while others worry that it might be doing more harm than good. Foot massages have been popular for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. While it is true that a foot massage can relax and ease stress and tension, along with relieving sore feet and swollen ankles it is probably up to you and your obstetrician on whether or not a home foot massager is safe for you and the baby.
Benefits of a Foot Massage During Pregnancy
A foot massage can reduce stress and tension that might be harmful to both you and the baby, along with helping to reduce swollen ankles caused by water retention. A study conducted in 2010 reported that a short foot massage on a regular basis can help treat the edema that frequently plagues pregnant women. By stimulating circulation and blood flow, most women saw a noticeable difference in the circumference of their legs.
Pregnant women also saw a change in their brain chemistry during a foot massage, which can benefit them and the baby. By massaging certain pressure points in their feet, their brains were stimulated to release certain endorphins. These “feel good” hormones not only help to further reduce stress, but can also elevate your mood. During pregnancy women experience several hormonal changes which can lead to depression and anxiety. By releasing the endorphins many pregnant women can avoid the symptoms of “moodiness” that can plague them during their pregnancies.
Are There Risks Involved?
There are some health care professionals who warn that having a foot massage during pregnancy can actually induce labor, which has some overdue women making appointments at their local spas. During a foot massage certain pressure points are stimulated to relieve stress and tension. This is especially true with the Shiatsu home foot massagers.
By stimulating these pressure points in your feet, some women warn can cause the uterus to contract. If you are past your due date causing contractions is probably welcomed, but it can be dangerous if you are in the earlier stages of your pregnancy. While licensed massage therapists emphatically state that this is extremely unlikely, and that they are trained to avoid specific pressure points in pregnant women it still remains a concern. In addition, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated that while reflexology massages can relieve stress and foot pain, there is no scientific evidence to back up anyone’s claims that a foot massage can effect a woman’s pregnancy.
Massage with Care
While it is true that there is still not any scientific evidence that a foot massage can incite labor, it should still be treated with caution. A discussion with your health care provider can ensure that a foot massage won’t cause any complications, or accidently send you into labor before you and your baby are ready. Like anything else you do when you are pregnant, use your home foot massager in moderation. If you use it simply to relieve stress and foot pain, chances are you might find that being pregnant doesn’t always have to make you feel miserable. So put your feet up and relax, after all you are pregnant.