Pregnancy is hard on your body as your muscles, tendons, and organs all reshape themselves for the support and care of your tiny passenger. Your balance is different, your emotions are all over the place, and your body feels odd. It can be hard to sleep, and you have aches, pains, and tensions unlike any you’ve had before. You also may feel stress – will everything be ready in time? Can you make it through labor? Will you be a good Mom?
Prenatal massage can help ease a lot of these symptoms and improve your sense of well-being so that you can enjoy your pregnancy more than simply enduring it.
Relieve Aches and Pains
The adjustments your body makes during pregnancy to allow you to carry the baby and give birth cause aches throughout your body. Your ligaments loosen and gain elasticity. Your circulation changes. Your body changes shape around your baby, and you are carrying a whole extra person inside you. You ache from tension and tiredness. Massage can help reduce that pain by improving circulation, relaxing muscles and tendons, releasing endorphins, and allowing you healing rest and adjustment.
Reduce Back Pain
Back pain is very common during pregnancy; the way you hold your body changes and you have a lot more weight in the front. Your pelvic ligaments loosen to allow for the birth, and this causes you to have less support than you are used to; your feel clumsier and have difficulty moving easily. Your center of gravity is changed, moving your back into an uncomfortable position, causing the muscles to cramp; it can even cause the nerves to be pinched. You may be experiencing stress, which can cause all of your muscles to tense. This tension often feels focused on your back. Massage during pregnancy relaxes the muscles, decreases the swelling, and reduces the pain.
Massage has been shown to lower stress, reduce anxiety, and reduce depressive symptoms. Massage during pregnancy has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine and cortisol, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine (known as the “feel good” hormones.) This helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and reduce the moodiness and extremes of emotion that often comes with pregnancy
Edema – swelling from water retention – is a common symptom in pregnancy. Massage helps to improve circulation and reduce this swelling by encouraging the fluids to flow away naturally.
Reduce the Risk of Blood Clots
The flow of blood in your body changes during pregnancy. Your blood supply increases by 50%. The blood flow in your legs slows. Your body produces anticoagulants to help with the birth. These changes increase the risk of blood clots in the legs. Massage can improve circulation, prevent blood from pooling, and decrease the risk of clot forming. A trained pregnancy masseuse will know how to massage to keep circulation without dislodging any small clots that may have already formed.
It can be difficult to get good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Improved physical comfort, reduced stress, and a better sense of well-being help you to sleep better during pregnancy.
Help with Postnatal Effects Also
Pregnancy massage is not only for during your pregnancy. Postnatal massage is also helpful in assisting your body to adjust to life with the baby on the outside. Your body is going through the opposite of what it did during pregnancy; ligaments are tightening up, muscles are returning to normal, hormones are returning to non-pregnancy levels, and your posture and back can go back to a more comfortable position. Massage can make these changes go more smoothly as well.
A trained pregnancy massage therapist will know where the most likely sore spots are in a pregnant woman’s body and will use specialized pillows or a table that will support your belly comfortably. They will know what areas to avoid massage, what positions to use during different stages of pregnancy, and what kind of massage techniques are safe during pregnancy and which not to use. They will help ease your pain, relax your stress, improve your mood, and have a happy, healthy pregnancy.