Show Yourself, and Your Baby, Some Love with Prenatal Massage
When you’re pregnant, your body is working harder than ever to grow that new life inside you. That means fatigue, achy muscles, stress, and pain or swelling in the joints are often the price of admission to motherhood. But you can find welcome relief in the form of a prenatal massage session. Studies have found that massage therapy has many benefits for moms-to-be—and their babies. Here are five reasons you should try massage for two.
Five Benefits of Prenatal Massage
- It promotes relaxation. Massage soothes the mind and body. The rhythmic strokes and gentle pressure of a prenatal massage create a blissful release of tension. It’s an opportunity for you to rest and recharge.
- Mental health is bolstered. Prenatal massage can be a valuable tool for relieving symptoms of anxiety or depression. In one study, depressed women who received regular massages during their second trimester said their moods and their depression symptoms were both improved. They also had increased levels of the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and endorphins, and lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine. Another study found that women struggling with depression during pregnancy who received massage therapy not only felt better during the prenatal stage, but during postpartum as well.
- Swelling can be reduced. Carrying a growing person in your uterus is a heavy-duty job that puts pressure on your blood vessels and generates extra fluid production in your body. Swelling in the legs and feet can be improved with prenatal massage, which helps boost circulation.
- It’s a natural form of pain relief. If you’ve ever had a massage, you’ve felt the sweet relief as pain melts away under a skilled therapist’s hands. That sensation is especially welcome during pregnancy, when it’s common to feel pain in the legs, back, feet, and head. It also alleviates pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is underneath the uterus and runs down the legs.
- Prenatal massage can pay off when it’s time to deliver. Researchers have found that women who had regular prenatal massages reduced their risk of giving birth prematurely, and their newborns were less likely to have low birth weights and high cortisol levels.
Prenatal massage can be a one-time pampering treat (it’s a great baby shower gift), but many women find it helpful to schedule regular sessions throughout their pregnancy as part of their prenatal care. Women should let their doctor or midwife know that they are getting prenatal massages, especially if they have a high-risk pregnancy or are experiencing certain conditions such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, severe headaches, swelling, or hypertension.
At your first prenatal massage, let your therapist know of any pre-existing conditions, as well as which areas of your body need extra attention. In most cases, you will lay down on your side during the massage to avoid extra pressure and strain on your back. Our therapists will customize each massage specifically to your needs, taking your pregnancy into special consideration. Contact us today to learn more about our massage treatments and book an appointment.