Pregnancy is a magical time, but sometimes it feels somewhat less than magical. From fatigue, aches and pains, to anxiety and stress, various discomforts and complaints are commonly known. If you’re feeling less than blooming, pregnancy (prenatal) massage might be just what you need to help give you a boost to cope with some of the common ailments of pregnancy.
Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain.Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynecology, 5(2), 177-181.
Carrying a baby (or more!) leads to an increased weight load on your body, placing all kinds of strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Massage can help to ease the tightness, helping to reduce levels of pain and discomfort.
In addition, massage helps to increase dopamine and serotonin, and lower cortisol and norepinephrine, levels. This helps to reduce tension that can lead to headaches; tiredness and fatigue; stress and anxiety. Massage is a fantastic means of relaxing the body and mind.
It stimulates your circulation, reducing swelling and helping improve the transport of oxygen and nutrients around the body at a time of increased demand!
Further more, it supports your skin as it is called to stretch and is affected by changing levels of hormones. It helps to bring welcome additional nourishment and pliability through carefully chosen oils and gentle manipulation, plus through the boost in circulation.
Pregnancy massage can be beneficial for baby too! As they grow, babies can feel gentle abdominal massage and may respond with a kick (or more!) Plus, studies have also shown that unborn babies are also affected by any stress that their mother is experiencing, so relaxed mum equals relaxed baby.
Postpartum depression and cortisol levels were decreased in the massaged women. The newborns of the massaged mothers also had lower cortisol levels than the newborns of the control mothers, and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales.APA
Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynecology, 5(2), 177-181.
Massage can take place in the second and third trimesters, although you will need to check with your midwife first as to whether she’s happy for you to proceed. If you are under consultant care a note of medical consent will be required before treatment can take place.
Please look for a therapist trained in pregnancy massage (as there are various additional considerations that the therapist needs to be aware of). I’m trained in Pregnancy Massage (plus labour and postnatal massage) through Mama Baby Bliss.
Coming soon: Massage in Labour