Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes challenging time for women, resulting in many physical and emotional changes. Pregnancy massage is a specialised area of massage therapy and is a great way for expectant women to reduce stress while promoting general well-being.
Nurturing touch and massage for women during pregnancy enables access to a number of benefits as well as encouraging a sense of connectedness between mother and child and a heightened sense of self-awareness for the mother-to-be.
The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
- Increased relaxation and reduced stress/anxiety:
Stress and anxiety have a draining effect on the body, especially one that is going through the number of physical changes associated with pregnancy. Massage has the ability to relax and restore balance to the nervous system which results in lower stress hormone levels, reduced heart rate and blood pressure and alleviation of muscular pain. It provides a calm and quiet time out from what is usually a busy life, resulting in a relaxed and feel-good state.
- Improved sleep pattern and quality:
The restorative power of quality sleep has been known for centuries. Massage helps to soothe and relax tension within the body allowing the mother-to-be to sleep more easily and deeply resulting in more energy during the day.
- Reduced swelling:
Sore and swollen hands and feet are common during pregnancy, especially in later stages. Massage improves circulation by redistributing fluid from the hands and feet into the lymphatic system, as well as easing the load on the mother’s heart and keeping her blood pressure in check. Massage also increases blood circulation in general resulting in greater vitality and less fatigue.
- Relief of muscular and joint pain:
The many physical changes that occur during pregnancy to accommodate a growing baby can cause back, neck, shoulder, legs and joint pain. This muscular discomfort can result in headaches, restricted movement and increase fatigue. Massage during pregnancy can alleviate this pain and restriction by gently stretching the muscles and releasing tension, improving muscular flexibility.
- Stabilizes hormonal changes and blood pressure:
There are a number of hormones present during pregnancy that assist the body in nurturing and accommodating a growing baby, but these can have less than desirable effects on the mother. Morning sickness, muscular pain and mood swings can be eased as massage stimulates glandular secretions, assisting in stabilizing these hormones and improving circulation to ease blood pressure.
Having a massage during pregnancy is a wonderful way for a woman to take time out for herself, to relax and to ease some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy. Pregnancy massage helps to support the many changes over the course of the pregnancy and assists in helping the body adapt and allowing the mother to relax and recharge.
Before Pregnancy Massage
As a precaution, please check with your ante-natal care provider (Obstetrician, Midwife) that massage is appropriate for you at your current stage of pregnancy. This is especially important if you are experiencing bleeding, spotting, abdominal pain or cramping or if you have undergone an Amniocentesis (Amniotic Fluid Test) or Chorionic Villi Sampling (placental tissue testing).
At Enhance Physiotherapy, we have remedial massage Therapists qualified in pregnancy massage for expected mothers.