5 Key Benefits Of Prenatal Massage
Pregnancy can be one of the most amazing experiences in a woman's life, but it can also present several challenges. During this journey, a prenatal massage can offer significant relief to a range of pregnancy-related symptoms. Research has shown prenatal massage can offer significant relief from muscle tension and swollen joints, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve labor and newborn health.
What is a prenatal massage?
A prenatal massage is a full body massage offered to a woman throughout pregnancy to ease pregnancy-related symptoms. A qualified prenatal massage therapist can help you relax, calm the mind and release the tension in your body using specific techniques to support you and your unborn child.
When receiving a prenatal massage, your practitioner will discuss your overall health condition, previous pregnancies, where relevant, as well as any specific symptoms you are experiencing throughout your pregnancy.
A prenatal massage is performed with you lying on your side with your top leg and abdomen supported. Lying on the stomach is usually not comfortable and can place undue pressure on the lower back. We believe the side-lying position offers several positive physical and psychological benefits for both mum and baby. This position puts less strain on the muscles in the lower back and supports a more relaxed position. Side-lying also gently lengthens the spine, reducing the effects of lower back pain. At the same time, this position supports the abdomen whilst allowing the massage therapist to work all areas of the body with ease.
Is prenatal massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy. Some practitioners prefer to massage a woman entering her second trimester, as the first trimester can present an increased risk of miscarriage. However, where a pregnant woman is generally healthy and has had no history of miscarriage or issues in the existing pregnancy, a gentle massage in the neck, upper back, and shoulders can be very helpful.
A prenatal massage at the end of the pregnancy also can be beneficial in easing symptoms and carving the way for an easier labor.
What are the benefits of a prenatal massage?
1. Eases anxiety & insomnia
There is ample evidence showing that massage can ease anxiety and symptoms of depression. This evidence also extends to prenatal massage. We know that massage received during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of depression, as well as improve sleeplessness and insomnia. In fact, some research points to a reduction in cortisol levels which, in turn, saw decreases in depression and anxiety. Prenatal massage simultaneously relaxes the nervous system and releases feel-good hormones, helping to promote improved sleep and overall relaxation.
2. Reduce Swelling
One of the most common symptoms of pregnancy is swelling of the feet, legs, ankles, and hands. This is often caused by the increased pressure placed by the heavy uterus on the major blood vessels. This in turn can reduce circulation to the most peripheral parts of the body. A prenatal massage can help by stimulating lymphatic flow, encouraging the release of toxins, and thereby reducing swelling. Massage also eases fluid build-up in swollen joints, particularly ankles and hands.
3. Relieve Lower Back Pain
Pregnancy massage improves lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain caused by caused by the weight of the uterus pressing on the lumbar region and the pelvic floor. Addressing the tight muscles in the affected area can increase blood flow and relax inflamed nerves brought on naturally by pregnancy. Many women report experiencing a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.
4. Natural Pain Relief
Prenatal massage offers a natural, safe, drug-free alternative for pain relief. This remedy is beneficial since medication usage is limited during pregnancy for the safety of your baby. The increased blood flow to your tissues and the relaxation your body will experience during and after a session can significantly alleviate many of the common discomforts of pregnancy.
5. Prepares Your Body for Labor and Birth
Prenatal massage can also assist you in having an easier labor. Regular massage releases muscle tension, keep muscles toned and reduces overall stress levels. These factors allow your body to prepare in the stages leading up to labor. Studies show that women reportedly had shorter hospital stays, easier and shorter labors, and fewer cases of post-natal depression when receiving regular massages.
There may be some cases where a prenatal massage is contraindicated. For this reason, is important to consult with your massage therapist if you have/are experiencing any of the following.
High-risk or multiple-birth pregnancy
Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal.
Previous pre-term labor or miscarriage
Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
Recently had given birth
Our practitioners are fully qualified in prenatal and post-natal massage.
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