Prenatal Massage: Benefits for Mom AND baby!
Posted by Devon Jarvis
Various studies have demonstrated that massage can be greatly beneficial, as well as, very safe for pregnant women if provided by a trained and experienced practitioner. It can also be recognized that the developing baby can benefit as well. Research results show that pregnant women who receive massage experience reduced anxiety, improved mood, reduced back pain and better yet, improved sleep! The women who received massage reported fewer complications in labor and fewer premature babies. While research is still being conducted, it may be that massage is effective in reducing the stress-related hormone (cortisol), which is a factor that can contribute to premature babies.
As mentioned before, there are many benefits to prenatal massage; one of which is emotional nurturing. Pregnancy can be both an exciting and anxious time for most women. The emotional nurturing and centering that happens during massage cannot be undervalued for women who commonly feel a new vulnerability and lack of control in their life, not to mention the new wave of pregnancy related hormones. Medically speaking, let it be known that massage produces endorphins (the feel good hormones), produces catecholamines (stress hormones), and can lower blood pressure.
While we are reducing stress in the body, we are also treating pain. It is well known and understood that emotional stress can lead to physical stress and pain. Let us not forget that as the fetus develops in utero, a woman’s muscular and skeletal systems instinctively adjust to her new center of gravity. The muscles that are required to keep the spine upright get taxed creating a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. These toxins adhere to the muscle fibers and as a result cause nerve irritation. Massage is valuable in this situation in that it can break up those adhesions, release trigger points caused by these irritated nerve bundles, and circulate new blood though the area to increase oxygen and flush out toxins. The idea can be applied to the undesired “pregnancy induced sciatica” which is, pain radiating from the lower back and down the leg. More often than not, this pain is caused by inflamed and irritated muscles in the hip adjusting to the pregnancy posture and pressing on the sciatic nerve.
A reduction in joint pain is another common product of prenatal massage. As the weight of your developing baby increases, so does your blood volume, interstitial fluid (swelling and edema) and intrauterine fluid. Combined, this adds significant pressure on the hip, knee and ankle joints of an expecting woman. Massage can reduce edema and increase circulation around those joints to decrease pain.
If you are interested in booking a massage, contact us today!
Prenatal health through massage therapy: For Women and Their Babies. (2002). New Life Journal: Carolina Edition, 4(3), 3.