Plus How Prenatal Massage Can Prepare You and Baby for Labor and Delivery!
Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to help improve health, relieve muscle tension and reduce stress. Research has shown that prenatal massage therapy can have positive results as well. It is used to address different needs through varying techniques, helping to relieve discomfort associated with being pregnant, and can even improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
What is Prenatal Massage?
This massage therapy is a full-body massage performed by a certified prenatal massage therapist. The techniques used are similar to that of Swedish massage but with a few modifications for body positioning that ensures the safety and comfort of mother and baby.
The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Let’s take a look at the many benefits you can experience from regular prenatal massage.
During pregnancy, your feet, legs and hands can swell up. This is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels during pregnancy. Massage can help to stimulate the soft tissue and reduce swelling by moving the extra fluid. This in turn can help you feel more comfortable during pregnancy.
Prenatal massage helps relieve or decrease pain. Muscles can become very tight and it is not uncommon for those who are pregnant to experience lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain. By addressing tight muscles or inflamed nerves in affected areas, this type of massage can help increase blood flow which helps to release the tension that is brought on naturally by pregnancy. In turn, this improved circulation may also help to reduce headaches, joint pain, and stress and anxiety.
Studies have shown that prenatal massage can help with hormone regulation and cardiovascular health. Those pregnant who received bi-weekly massages for five weeks showed that hormones associated with stress (norepinephrine and cortisol) were reduced while hormones associated with a reduction in depression (serotonin and dopamine–the “feel good” hormones) were increased.
Not only was it shown to help those who are pregnant feel happier and less stressed, but the positive changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth as well as fewer instances of newborn complications. In other words, the evidence suggests that there are both maternal and newborn health benefits when prenatal massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Prenatal massage helps to relax the nervous system and increases those “feel good” hormones. In turn, this can help improve the quality of your sleep, something that can get more difficult as your pregnancy progresses.
Prepare Your Body for Labor and Birth
Prenatal massage can help you have an easier delivery. This is because it helps to reduce your overall stress and anxiety levels, but it also helps prepare the muscles by keeping them toned and relaxed in advance of labor. Studies have shown that those who received prenatal massage reportedly had shorter hospital stays, shorter labors and less incidence of postnatal depression.
Are there Precautions I Should Take?
There are a few precautions and things you should look for when deciding on a prenatal massage care provider. First, it is recommended that you have a discussion with your prenatal care provider about your health before deciding on any type of massage therapy. Second, there are some things you should consider when deciding on who to get prenatal massage treatments from. Many professionals consider the best position for pregnant women during massage is side-lying tables. Tables with holes for the uterus to fit through are not recommended as this can still apply pressure to the abdomen and cause uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments. We recommend verifying what position you will be in when making your first appointment.
Feel the Benefits of Prenatal Massage Today!
At the US Wellness Collective, we believe that prenatal massage has been shown through research to be an instrumental ingredient in prenatal care. During your prenatal massage session, we’ll work to reduce back pain, tension and hip discomfort. A 90 minute session is recommended for best results. We also recommend getting a pregnancy glow facial, which can work wonders in cleaning out pores clogged by extra oil that is produced by pregnancy hormones. Book your prenatal massage and/or pregnancy glow facial today!