Every pregnancy comes complete with aches and pains. It's not a welcome inclusion but it is a non-negotiable part of the deal. Prenatal massage can be of enormous benefit to expectant mothers. We will discuss here the top benefits, some precautions one should consider, and some of the methods used when applying pre-natal massage therapy.
Muscular tensions, aching back, neck and shoulders, headaches, pooling of blood in the legs, and all other manner of physical discomforts and pains occur due to the inevitable increase in weight, the resulting shifting of posture and centre of gravity, and changing hormone levels.
Prenatal massages aim to alleviate aches and pains, improve circulation, reduce muscular tensions and help to ease other pregnancy related symptoms. An additional benefit is an improvement in the expectant mother's emotional moods and mental attitude.
A full body massage including attention to the head including the scalp and face area, as well as the feet and hands provides relief from tensions and is found to be extremely soothing and nurturing. All areas should of course be massaged gently, with appropriate levels of pressure applied.
An experienced prenatal massage therapist can choose methods which are effective and safe that provide much needed comfort and pampering.
Prenatal massage offers numerous benefits of a broad range. The top benefits of pre-natal massage are:
- Reduction of fatigue
- Increased circulation
- Improved digestion
- Reduced swelling in the hands, feet and lower legs
- Fewer calf cramps
- Lessens the severity of backaches, headaches, shoulder and neck aches
- Reduced pain in the pelvic/hip area
- Alleviates stress on weight bearing joints including the lower back, knees and ankles
- Improves sleep and decreases insomnia
- Promotes deep breathing and relaxation
- Reduces stress hormones
- Assists in maintaining correct posture
Prenatal massage therapy during pregnancy can also be greatly beneficial emotionally as it allows expectant mothers to relax and feel a sense of calm. They also report feeling comforted and healthy during what is a period of emotional and physical stress.
Pre-natal massage can be applied in different ways. The pregnant patient should lie on her side and the therapist is trained to modify the massage techniques to adapt to this position. Lying flat on back is not recommended as it reduces blood circulation to both mother and child. The mother-to-be can lay on her back with the body in an elevated position by using pillows to support the mother's body. Body pillows can also be used for side lying positions as well.
There is a specially designed pillow now available to assist when massaging expecting mothers in a face down position. This pillow has a deep centre cut-out which allows the mother to lie flat on her belly and feel comfortable and relaxed.
After giving birth, new mothers experience a kaleidoscope of physical and emotional stresses, commonly including sleep deprivation. Prenatal massage can aid the birthing process, and then continuing with postnatal massage can be highly beneficial and therapeutic by assisting the new mother's body to return to its former state.
Pre-natal massage is generally considered safe for expecting mothers, although it is always advisable to consult with your doctor before beginning a program. There are some precautions. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, prenatal massage is not advised. You should certainly tell your therapist if you have had, or are having any complications or problems with your pregnancy.
Prenatal massage may be from 10 minutes to an hour depending on your available time and your level of comfort. If the massage brings discomfort, you may like to have shorter sessions more often. If the massage causes no abnormal discomfort, then once per week during the 2nd trimester and twice per week or more during the 3rd trimester is ideal.
If considering prenatal massage therapy to assist with a pleasant and positive pregnancy and birth, consult you doctor or pre-natal massage specialist and begin. The therapy has enjoyed long and wide spread use and offers many therapeutic benefits to the pregnant mother to be, and ultimately to her child as well.