What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

While pregnancy is a wonderful time as the expectant mother thinks about the upcoming birth, there is also no denying that being pregnant also means being uncomfortable in one way or another. Increasing size can often challenge the fittest of mothers-to-be, but many have found relief from some of pregnancies side effects through massage.

Massage is now considered to be a wonderful way to help make the mother more comfortable, even in the third trimester, and also make delivery easier. Pregnant women who want to include massage in their prenatal care should use a massage therapist who has been trained specifically in prenatal massage.

Scheduling Regular Prenatal Massage

It’s of primary importance for every pregnant woman to take the best possible care of herself – for her own wellbeing as well as that of her developing child. Taking the right vitamins, being careful about diet, avoiding alcohol, and visiting the doctor regularly all make it more likely that the pregnancy will have a favourable outcome. Pregnancy puts a great deal of stress upon the body, and massage is one way to lessen or eliminate many of the incidental problems that arise during this time.

  • The levels of hormones fluctuate wildly as the pregnancy progresses and can cause both mental and physical problems. The stress hormones, cortisol and norepinephrine, often make pregnant women feel depressed or irritable. Massage not only reduces the levels of these hormones, but it also releases more of the ‘good hormones’, such as serotonin, that help to elevate mood. Lower levels of stress hormones have also been found to result in higher birth weight and fewer complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  • Normal weight gain is often accompanied by fluid retention, especially in the later months and when the weather is hot. Your massage therapist can help to increase circulation and promote proper drainage of excess fluid from the legs and feet.
  • As the pregnancy progresses, the increased weight in the front of the body can put quite a bit of strain on the back, and backaches are common during this time. Hardly anything can relieve back pain like a good massage, and regular massages will help keep the back and shoulder muscles in better condition to stand the strain.
  • Massage improves circulation, meaning that more oxygen is reaching not only the mother’s organs, but also the foetus. A good supply of oxygen will aid normal development in the womb and help to prevent complications.
  • Muscle cramps in the legs and feet are a very unwelcome adjunct to pregnancy. They result from a restricted blood flow to the legs as the enlarged abdomen presses on the blood vessels going to them. Massage is great at increasing blood circulation and softening up tight, cramped calf muscles.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is often difficult during pregnancy, especially during the later stages. Once again, massage can help to relax the mind and soothe the body so that the mother can get the rest she needs.

Prenatal Massage

There are several preferred massage methods that are used most commonly for pregnant women: Swedish massage or deep tissue massage. All pregnant women should not hesitate to let the massage therapist know if something is making them uncomfortable or causing pain.

It was previously thought that massages were to be avoided during the first trimester, to lessen the chances of miscarriage. Actually, massage is perfectly safe during the first three months as long as pressure is not applied to the abdomen. Most mothers can actually still lie on their stomachs at this point. During the second and third trimester, massages are generally given with the mother lying on her side. Some pregnancy massage tables have a cut out to allow for the enlarged abdomen, but this can sometimes put strain on the ligaments holding the uterus in place.

Because this is such an important time in a woman’s life, she should make certain that the massage therapist she chooses has been certified in prenatal massage.

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