Often massage is thought of as a luxury service with the intention of relaxation only, but there is so much more to it than that. While massage is relaxing, there are actually a lot of benefits associated with it as well.
Whereas I believe massage should be a regular part of everyone’s self-care, I want to particularly address the benefits of massage during pregnancy.
Prenatal massage alleviates discomforts
Pregnancy is one of the happiest times of a woman’s life. It is such an amazing feeling to be able grow a life. From the excitement of the first positive pregnancy test, to the day you finally get to meet this tiny person you created, pregnancy is like nothing else you have ever experienced before in your life. Along with all the joys of pregnancy, there are often many discomforts as well. Growing a life is’t easy. If you think about it, you have about 40 weeks to grow a whole new person. They start off at about the size of a poppy seed and end up roughly the size of a watermelon. Physically, it’s a huge change for your body, and it’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine.
Prenatal massage can help alleviate some of the common aches and pains associated with pregnancy, such as sore muscles, joint pain, and pressure and pain to the sciatic nerve. It can also help with increasing blood and lymph circulation which helps assist the heart and reduces swelling. Massage helps the body prepare for birth by loosening the pelvis and by releasing excess tension that might otherwise be stored in the muscles. Massage can also be beneficial to the baby by lowering the mother’s stress levels. In addition, Studies have shown that massage can help stabilize hormones which in turn helps relieve depression and anxiety.
Prenatal massage can be done at any point in pregnancy; however, some women choose to avoid it during the first trimester. Massage is considered safe so long as you have a low risk pregnancy. If you are classified as high risk, a written approval from your doctor is required. It is recommended you schedule a massage following each of your prenatal care appointments. However, it can be done more or less depending on your individual needs.
After the baby is born you should schedule an appointment with your licensed massage therapist as soon as you feel up to it. Receiving regular massages for the first six weeks postpartum can help restore the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size.