For centuries, people have found comfort and relaxation through the power of therapeutic massage. Several types of massage therapies are available–all with different techniques and benefits–but one of the most popular massages aims to help women during pregnancy. As you may know, pregnancy can take a significant toll on your body, which is why many women seek the benefits of a pregnancy massage. Ideal for relieving stress, reducing muscle tension, and increasing overall health, massage therapy is a safe and effective way to enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy journey.
What is A Pregnancy Massage?
The goal of pregnancy or prenatal massage is similar to that of a regular massage; it promotes relaxation while providing relief for sore or tired muscles. It also just feels good. So how does this type of massage differ from standard techniques? Well, a prenatal massage is customized to fit the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies.
As your baby grows, you may notice that your center of gravity is not quite the same as before pregnancy. This change alone can add a significant amount of stress to your shoulder, neck, back, and abdominal muscles. As you move into later trimesters, your body will begin to prepare for delivery by slowly relaxing your ligaments and pelvis joints, which can change your posture and cause additional stress to your muscles. This change alone can add a significant amount of stress to your shoulder, neck, back, and abdominal muscles. When all of these changes are added with the extra weight you carry, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, especially in the lower back.
When you find a trained and experienced prenatal massage therapist–finding an MT with experience can make all the difference in the world– they will know what areas to focus on in order to provide relief to pregnant women. Additionally, they know what areas and techniques to avoid.
When Can You Get A Prenatal Massage?
Massages for pregnant women can take place at any point during your pregnancy. Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, your starting position may vary but ultimately, your massage therapist will help find a position that makes you the most comfortable. Keep in mind that one of the ways this type of massage differs from a traditional one is that you most likely are not laying on your stomach once your belly starts to grow–unless you are seeing a massage therapist that has a special table with hollowed-out spaces for your belly. Although these types of massages are safe, it is important to consult and get the okay from your doctor.
Top 5 Benefits
Now that you know what a prenatal massage is and how it differs from traditional techniques, let’s dive into the main benefits that you can expect from your massage:
- Reduced Pain and Discomfort
As we mentioned, pregnancy can take a toll on your body and one of the most common complaints from women is nerve pain, specifically sciatic nerve pain. The reason for this is because of the amount of pressure on muscles in the lower back and pelvic floor. By reducing pressure on inflamed nerves, massage therapy reduces tension and pain and provides sciatic nerve pain relief. Prenatal massage can be a natural form of pain relief and a great alternative to medications.
- Regulates Hormone Production
There have been many studies over the years that look into the effects and benefits of massage therapy for pregnant women. One of the studies suggests that massage therapy can increase hormones associated with stress relief, improved mood, and cardiovascular function.
- Reduced Swelling
Swelling is another commonly reported symptom during pregnancy. It is caused by reduced circulation and can develop into a condition known as edema in the later stages of pregnancy. A prenatal massage aims to stimulate the soft tissues and lymphatic system, which can help to disperse fluid and reduce swelling.
- Improves Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest becomes harder and harder as your pregnancy progresses. Although pregnancy pillows offer some relief, a prenatal massage promotes relaxation in the nervous system, ultimately leaving you more relaxed and able to sleep better.
- Improved Fetal Positioning
Prenatal massage can help to maintain good posture and help them to adapt to the changing alignment of their bodies caused by your growing baby. By increasing stimulation and flexibility of muscles, prenatal massage can help expectant mothers to carry the extra weight.