Children First: Pregnancy Massage

By: Danielle Banks
By: Danielle Banks

Tanya Shenk is five-and-a-half months pregnant with her third child.

Shenk says, "This is first time I've had it done and it feels wonderful."

The massage she's receiving is working to relieve many of the normal discomforts during pregnancy such as backaches, a stiff neck, swollen ankles, and feet.

Shenk says, "The most important part is that he's getting every muscle that is sore and needs to be massaged."

But it's also increasing her general blood circulation, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both her and the fetus.

Ivan Shkaruba is massage practitioner at Woodstone Spa in Massanutten. He's been practicing pregnancy massage for six years. He says, "It's not just for mom but a benefit for baby. It's the same body and the baby will feel the massage right away and usually the baby will respond and the baby will feel the massage."

While massage can be practiced at home without a licensed professional, Shkaruba says all dads need to be careful if they decide to do the massage themselves.

He says, "You should know where you can press and where you can't with the pressure points. That's very important. You should have some training to do that."

Shkaruba recommends a light rub to start. And it's a great way for the fathers to "share" the pregnancy with the mother.

Shenk says, "I think there are a lot of husbands out there are wanting to be a part of the pregnancy and this is a good way for them to be a part of it."

If you're thinking about trying out pregnancy massage, there are a few places in the Valley you can go. You can also check with your local hospital.

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