It goes without saying that your body experiences a lot of changes during pregnancy, but let’s say it anyway! Some things are stretched, others are swollen. Your center of gravity shifts, you’re carrying added weight, and your hormones go more than a little crazy. While all of this is totally normal, it can result in both mental and physical stress for expectant mothers.
Prenatal massage can relieve many of the aches and pains associated with being pregnant, but it can do so much more. Massage therapy during pregnancy can also reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as enhance Mom and baby’s comfort level enough that labor outcomes and newborn health are improved.
Some of the many benefits of prenatal massage include:
* Relieving tension
* Alleviating pregnancy-related aches and pains in the back, hips, legs, and joints
* Encouraging relaxation
* Helping regulate hormones
* Improving blood circulation
* Reducing stress and anxiety
* Decreasing swelling
* Promoting better sleep
Prenatal massage is not only safe, but is often recommended because it offers so many positives to both mom and baby.
Lower back, hip, pelvic, and leg pain are common complaints among expectant mothers. Baby’s increasing weight and movement stretches and pulls on muscles creating tension in Mom that affects posture and gait. This internal tug of war makes it hard to get comfortable and, over time, leads to muscle inflammation. Inflamed muscles crowd nerves and can result not only in tight, tense muscles, but in sciatic (or other) nerve pain as well. Whether you experience dull and constant aches or sharp and shooting pains with movement, specially applied massage to the affected muscle groups can relieve tension, inflammation, and soothe many common discomforts of pregnancy.
Swollen ankles and other joints during pregnancy are often due to increased pressure on major blood vessels. Expertly stimulating the soft tissues surrounding the joints with therapeutic massage frees up fluid collecting there and encourages its elimination, along with other toxins, through the body’s lymphatic system. Regular massage helps keep excess fluid at bay.
For many, pregnancy is stressful enough to initiate a fight-or-flight response so strong that increased production of stress hormones is sustained. Over time, higher levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) are associated with both sleep disturbances and symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are likewise associated with premature births and low birth weights.
Massage therapy can decrease cortisol levels and at the same time increase levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in pregnant women. This often leads to improved sleep and that makes everything better!
Prenatal Massage for Health and Wellness
In the same way that regular massage outside of pregnancy can enhance overall wellness, prenatal massage can lead to improved health during pregnancy.
While many of the goals are the same — better health, more comfort, and increased relaxation — prenatal massage is different from massage outside of pregnancy and customized to the needs of the client. We use special pillows, bolsters, table positions and techniques all designed to enhance comfort during therapy, reduce pain and encourage relaxation for mom and baby.
Massage is generally safe for women in all stages of pregnancy, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider if you have any special circumstances, and always use a certified prenatal massage therapist with a thorough understanding of all the changes happening in the body and how they affect each other.
A more relaxed and comfortable mother often leads to a more relaxed and comfortable baby — and delivery. Contact Kalologie Medspa Austin to discuss adding massage to your prenatal wellness routine.