You experience constant physical changes during pregnancy to support your baby’s growth and development. However, it can be challenging to continue normal activities and routines when these physical changes cause a heavy belly, aching back, painful joints, headaches, anxiety, and fatigue.
Like massages at other times, a prenatal massage can make life more comfortable and relaxing. While the treatment can be safe and beneficial for both mother and baby, administering prenatal massage requires special considerations for women in this stage of life.
When it’s administered by a trained professional, a prenatal massage eases the physical and emotional issues that develop as your body changes to accommodate an unborn baby.
Under the direction of Samuel Figueroa, MD, our team of massage therapists at Dutch Hollow Medical Day Spa in Godfrey, Illinois, helps women manage the emotional and physical changes of pregnancy.
Our massage therapists have the training and expertise necessary to ensure that your treatment is administered safely and comfortably while protecting the well-being of the mother and baby.
How massage during pregnancy differs
Like a general massage, prenatal massage is a full body massage intended to soothe and release physical tension and release emotional stress. Unlike a general massage, you spend the majority of your time lying on your side with special cushioning to support your body and protect your unborn baby.
Depending on your condition and needs, techniques of traditional massage and Swedish massage therapy may be used during your session. A typical prenatal massage involves long, sweeping strokes and mild pressure to relax muscle tension and improve blood and lymphatic circulation.
Deep tissue massage is usually avoided because of the potential risk to the mother and baby. Massage therapists qualified to administer prenatal massage are trained to avoid pressure to areas that may stimulate pelvic muscles or the uterus.
Prenatal massage is typically administered after the first trimester of pregnancy. While this treatment is regarded as safe for pregnant women, it’s wise to check with your prenatal provider to ensure that it’s appropriate for your condition.
Physical benefits of massage during pregnancy
Some of the most common complaints about discomfort during pregnancy involve persistent lower back pain, including sciatic nerve pain. Pain in your pelvis, shoulders, neck, and other joints and muscles is also typical.
This type of pain results as the weight of your baby exerts increasing pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in your lower back and changes your posture to realign the center of gravity over your hips. The effect can interfere with normal movement, healthy exercise, and even adequate sleep.
Prenatal massage can help relax and loosen tight and stressed muscles and increase blood flow. This can assist in maintaining good posture and adapting to the changes caused by your baby’s increasing weight.
The increased circulation that occurs during prenatal massage can reduce swelling and improve the oxygen supply available to your baby.
During a prenatal massage, pain and discomfort are also reduced as a result of natural painkilling chemicals like endorphins that are released during the treatment. These hormones can help soothe and relax both mother and baby.
Prenatal massage may also help resolve these common issues that arise during pregnancy:
- Leg cramps
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Swollen ankles and fingers
Emotional benefits of massage during pregnancy
Prenatal massage is an effective way to reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones that can make you feel good. Your body also experiences a natural calming effect from the human touch that you experience during your treatment.
The effects of massage during pregnancy can reduce anxiety and depression. This type of therapy can also enhance productive sleep, relieve fatigue, and calm an overactive baby, all of which can lower stress during pregnancy.
Benefits of massage during pregnancy for childbirth
Prenatal massage can promote an easier delivery because it reduces your overall stress levels long before labor. It also helps keep muscles toned and relaxed before childbirth.
When compared with women who followed standard prenatal care routines in a control group without massage therapy, those who received massage therapy sessions had greater gestational ages and higher birth weights than the babies of women in the control group.
Find out more about the ways that massage during pregnancy can make a difference in your well-being. Call Dutch Hollow Medical Day Spa at 618-227-7168 and schedule an appointment today.