You may think of massage as a luxury spa treatment to indulge in on special occasions, however one of the most beneficial times for massage can be during pregnancy.
Massage has many benefits in pregnancy and in this months’ article we will explore some of these a little further
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labour outcomes and newborn health.
Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Swedish massage is one of the recommended pregnancy massage method because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.
Are you feeling stressed and anxious?
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women in the antenatal (before birth) period of their pregnancy leading to mood regulation.
In women who received twice weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).
Are you experiencing swollen ankles, legs and hands?
During pregnancy, tissue swelling around joints such as knees and ankles may be caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus (womb). Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints, and also improves the body’s lymphatic drainage system to reduce the build up of fluid in the tissues and joints.
Does your back ache?
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests upon the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy positively impacts on the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
Other potential benefits of pregnancy massage:
- Reduced muscle tension and headaches
- Better sleep
- A sense of calm and focus on your growing baby
Is pregnancy massage suitable for me?
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellbeing, women should discuss massage with their pregnancy health care professionals.
It is important to seek care from an accredited pregnancy massage therapist, as their training includes identification of specific pregnancy and massage needs and awareness of comfort and safety.
Trained pregnancy massage therapists are aware of pressure points on the ankles and wrists that can gently stimulate pelvic muscles, including the uterus. Accredited pregnancy massage therapists are trained to avoid very specific and intentional pressure to these areas during pregnancy. Any woman who has experienced pre-term contractions or consistent Braxton-Hicks contractions should alert her therapist to that fact so that pressure points can be avoided completely.
Women with identified high risk pregnancy conditions should speak with a Midwife or doctor prior to receiving a massage
Is pregnancy massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester as long as the massage therapist is qualified in pregnancy massage and understands the changes occurring in a woman’s body during each stage of pregnancy.
Once Baby arrives …
A post natal massage for a new mum is just bliss – soothing a tired aching muscles and our therapists can work on those muscles that have tightened during pregnancy and help to release them relieving any aches and pains. Safe from early post natal and an ideal baby shower gift.
For further information on pregnancy massage you can contact the team at Frombumps2babies and we will be happy to advise you. http://www.frombumps2babies.co.uk/services/therapies/