Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Reduced back pain
Reduced joint pain
Reduced muscle tension and headaches
improve labor outcomes and newborn health
Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
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Pregnancy is hard on your body!
More than any other time in your life, your body is experiencing changes and growing pains. Muscles and tendons have to stretch, internal organs have to move out of the way, and oh that belly- watch out!
Pre natal massage is a terrific way to relax those tense muscles, improve circulation and increase mobility. Your body needs a soothing, comforting touch to smooth out those muscles and send nerve signals to the brain, telling it that everything will be okay!
How can prenatal massage help me?
Growing a human being is no easy task! When the body is under stress and fatigue, it simply doesn’t function properly.
As your baby grows, your center of gravity changes and puts an extraordinary amount of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments so that your pelvic joints are less stable. We are all grateful for this wonderful bodily intuition around the 10 cm mark. Until that time however, loosened ligaments make your body feel as though it is going to fall apart at any minute! Add to that the extra weight you’re carrying (don’t worry- you still look great!) and you may find you’ve got an aching body!
Most women find it uncomfortable to lie facedown during pregnancy. It is also not a good idea to lie flat on your back because the weight of your uterus puts too much pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart. For this reason, prenatal massage is best performed in a side-lying position. Trained prenatal massage therapists are aware of pressure points on the ankles and wrists that can gently stimulate pelvic muscles, including the uterus. Prenatal massage therapists are trained to avoid pressure to these areas during pregnancy. Any woman who has experienced pre-term contractions or consistent Braxton-Hicks contractions should alert her therapist to that fact so that pressure points can be avoided completely.
Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy. As the uterus rests on the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back, pressure spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg. This leads to swelling, lack of adequate circulation, and pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy helps the inflamed nerves by releasing the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular prenatal massage.
Reduction of Swelling
Swelling of the joints during pregnancy is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure from the growing uterus on major blood vessels. Massage stimulates soft tissues to reduce buildup of fluids in swollen joints. Massage also improves the removal of cellular waste products that are carried away by the body’s lymphatic system.
Studies have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered during prenatal massage. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
“I sleep so much better at night after my regular prenatal massage! My muscles ache less and I am able to enjoy a restful nights sleep. Thank You!” – June, 2013