Why prenatal massage will help you survive pregnancy
I think we can all agree that pregnancy poses some significant changes upon the female anatomy and although a blessing, childbearing can have some painful side effects that are extremely uncomfortable for moms-to-be. We thought that in the spirit of Mother’s Day having just passed and all of those soon-to-be moms out there, we’d go through some of the painful benefits of pregnancy and how prenatal massage can help combat aches and pains.
Your Body Is Changing
What is really happening inside of your body in order to create another human being? To start, your body has to make space for a growing lifeform, because of this, your organs will begin to shift to make enough space. This means that your gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines) will shift up so the uterus can expand. This expansion will push the top of the uterus to the bottom of the rib cage by the end of the second trimester. While this massive change happens in the abdomen, women may experience aching in the stomach due to the stretching of the abdominal wall and the ligaments within to accommodate the size of the uterus.
There are also significant changes to the musculoskeletal system. In order to maintain balance while a woman is front-heavy, the spine will realign and will create a new posture, which can lead to back pain. The ligaments surrounding the pelvic bone will also loosen to prepare the body for labor.
While the body automatically makes these significant anatomical changes, women typically experience a list of side effects that come from these shifts. For healthy growth of the baby, the placenta will produce large amounts of estrogen, which aims to help uterine growth, activity and is also responsible for other changes the body experiences. With an increase in hormones, women might experience hot flashes, moodiness and emotional spikes.
In addition to all of this, women may experience swollen feet as a result of extra fluid in the body, skin changes (such as stretch marks, hyperpigmentation or spider veins), leg cramps, frequent urination, breast changes and pains or experience being out of breath or even increased respiratory rate.
It’s no wonder why so many pregnant women seek forms of release! This is where prenatal massage comes to the rescue.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Massage therapy has been proven to aid in reducing stress and anxiety, relieve muscle pains and reverse the symptoms of depression and these skills and attributes of massage can be applied to pregnant women – although with some caution.
Prenatal massage uses one of many calm techniques, Swedish Massage. This massage style is less aggressive and aimed more at promoting relaxation while working on some problem areas. It helps to promote circulation and relieve any tension that the subject may be experiencing. (Please consult with your physician before scheduling a prenatal massage.)
Massage Can Help with Hormone Changes
Pregnancy causes heaps of hormone changes but some women may experience some symptoms of depression. Massage has a high effect on hormones because it will help relieve stress, decrease anxiety and boost “happy” hormones to help pull you out of any depressive state, which is helpful for both mom and baby. Aromatherapy can help with this as well by using oils such as lavender or frankincense to nurture those hormonal effects.
Massage Can Help with Body Aches and Pains
As the musculoskeletal changes occur and the spine begins to realign and the pelvis begins to expand, women are prone to experiencing spinal aches and pains – including sciatica. In a waterfall effect, this pain is inflicted on nerves and ligaments and spreads throughout the body, down to the legs and feet.
Massage aims to release the tension in problem areas to provide as much release as possible. Using Swedish massage techniques, women may experience reduction in: back pain, muscle pain, stress, anxiety, headaches, joint pain and even an improvement in circulation and better sleep.
Any questions? Reach out to us, we’d be happy to help.