Prenatal massage has gained a lot of momentum over recent years and we want to explain why!
Many women now want massage treatments specifically for their pregnancies even if they wouldn’t have incorporated it into their schedules before. So, why is prenatal massage so important and increasingly popular?
Similar to regular massage, prenatal massage can help to improve circulation. This is especially important during pregnancy because your blood supply increases to almost double the amount found in non-pregnant women. The improvement in your circulation from regular prenatal massage can result in benefits such as a decrease in swelling and a reduction of numbness/tingling. This can feel especially good in the last months of pregnancy when most women experience an increase in swelling in their legs and feet.
When you are pregnant, there are many things that can hinder your ability to breathe easily. First, your growing baby displaces your organs creating less space in your belly. This can restrict the amount that your diaphragm and lungs can move and can decrease your ability to take deep breaths. Postural changes can also cause a decrease in space for the lungs to fill impeding breathing. Regular massage therapy can help to improve your breathing by helping to relieve some of the tension caused by postural changes, which can help you to feel like there is more space, and therefore more room to breathe.
Another common complaint during pregnancy is sinus congestion or pain. This is due to an increase in the hormone Progesterone, which can cause swelling of your sinuses. Massage can help to ease sinus pain through the utilization of facial massage and acupressure.
Improved Gastro-intestinal Function
During pregnancy, the increased progesterone also causes your digestive system to slow down. It does this so that your food takes longer to digest, leaving more time for nutrients to be absorbed for the baby. This slowing down in digestion can also lead to constipation, heartburn, indigestion, gall bladder disease, bloating, and nausea.
Receiving regular massage during pregnancy can help to decrease these negative symptoms. It helps to encourage faster food absorption which can speed up digestion which can help to ease these negative symptoms.
The skin can take a bit of a beating during pregnancy. Your growing belly makes the skin of your midsection tight, dry, and can cause stretch marks. Having soothing massage with oils that are beneficial for your skin can help to put moisture back into it making it feel less tight and dry. It can also help to decrease the appearance of stretch marks.
The stimulation of your skin can also help to stimulate brain function. This can aid in the production of hormones known to improve birth outcomes.
Relieves Musculoskeletal Discomfort
The changes in your posture as you are growing your baby can cause a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms which increase the later you get in your pregnancy. Your balance changes completely and you may experience symptoms such as sciatica-like pain, ligament pain, carpal/tarsal tunnel pain, restless legs, and headaches just to name a few. Regular massage is a great way to address these discomforts. It can help to release the muscular tension that builds up in the hips causing the sciatica-like pain. Here at Elite Performance Therapy we are trained in pregnancy massage and able to recognize symptoms of ligament discomfort and use special techniques to help ease the pain. Carpal/tarsal tunnel pain is often caused or exacerbated by edema or swelling. Reduction in the swelling of hands and feet can help to ease symptoms of carpal/tarsal tunnel pain. Restless legs can be caused by overly tight calf muscles. While no deep work should be done on calves during pregnancy, superficial massage can help to relax the muscles enough that you will get some relief from restless legs.
Some women also experience what is known as Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction, where the ligament at the front of the pelvis separates. This causes a great deal of pain any time you do anything one sided such as walk, climb in and out of bed, climb stairs, etc. Massage therapy can help to correct it and has been known to even reverse it in some cases.
We understand that new mothers-to-be are under a lot of stress! Along with dealing with the regular stresses of their lives, they are also faced with growing a human baby, erratic hormones, and the fears and worry that can come along with becoming a parent. Massage is a great way to calm the mind and relax the body, helping to relieve some of the stress.
Good Preparation for Labor
Receiving regular massage therapy throughout your pregnancy can actually help prepare your body for labor. It can help to increase your flexibility and keep your joints supple and open. It can also help you to be more in tune with your body and what you are feeling by increasing your mind/body connection and creating kinesthetic awareness. Recognising where you hold tension and learning to relax your muscles can work to your benefit when you are in labor. Massage can also help you get used to relaxing and focusing on your breath, both of which can aid you throughout labor and child birth.
Receiving regular massage therapy throughout your pregnancy can have a whole host of benefits that will hopefully make your pregnancy and birth experience a little bit better and more comfortable.
Here at Elite Performance Therapy we are specially trained in working with pregnancy and so understand the safety considerations when it comes to working with pregnant women. Not all therapists are qualified and may not be aware of these and so it is also important to be aware that if you go to a day spa or salon for massage, the therapist may or may not have any experience working with pregnancy.
“I met Isy when my first child was almost 2 weeks overdue. She eased my aches and relaxed my mind and 2 days later we had our little girl. When I got pregnant with our second there was no questioning who I was going to see for the sciatica and round ligament pain! A few days after I had our son Isy even came to the hospital and worked my tired muscles while the baby and I cuddled. It was a beautiful, peaceful and unforgettable experience!”
“I just wanted to let you know that the pregnancy back massage I got from you was really good, I enjoyed it very much and best of all… I have had NO back pain since! I feel completely ‘unlocked’. Thank you so much!”
BY: Isy Fergusson
Health, Message Therapy, Physical Therapy
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