What is Pregnancy Massage?
Pregnancy massage is like a normal massage in that it is a hands-on therapy that works on the soft tissues of the body and has many great benefits. However, unlike a normal massage the positioning of the mum-to-be is key. It is important to position the mum so that she is comfortable and in ways that are safe for her and the baby. Obviously lying face down with a baby bump isn’t an option, but also around the second trimester and in the third, lying on the back is not an option as the baby’s weight can put pressure on the mum’s major blood vessels. So, after a certain period, side lying on the left-hand side of the body is the best option.
During a pregnancy massage, the therapist will work with mum to find the most comfortable and safe positions to allow them to work on the muscles and soft tissues and help them feel the amazing benefits of the massage. .
5 Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
1. Relieve aches and pains
Throughout pregnancy, there are many physiological changes that occur to a woman’s body that can affect the way she moves and the way she feels. For example, the extra weight of the growing baby shifts the centre of gravity forward and the natural curve of the lower back becomes more exaggerated, which can contribute to the common problem of lower back pain. Muscles can become achy and tense and the hormones released during pregnancy can cause ligaments to soften and increase their laxity (Calguneri et al., 1982), which may contribute to pain around the back, hips and pelvis. Massage is a great way to help with these aches and pains. It can help to release the tension found in muscles and alleviate some stress on weight-bearing joints. In a study completed by El-Hosary et al. (2016), massage was found to be effective in helping back pain, headaches and muscle cramps in pregnant women.
2. Improve blood circulation
Pregnancy massage can improve blood circulation, therefore increasing the amount of oxygen rich blood that is delivered to the soft tissues being worked on. Massage can also help with blood pressure (Moeini et al., 2011). It also stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps with the removal of waste material from tissues of the body.
3. Aids relaxation
One of the more important benefits of Pregnancy Massage is that it provides time for the mother to unwind, helps her relax and relieves stress. Massage can help pregnant ladies with anxiety and depression (Field et al. 2007). Field et al. (2004) found that after massage, pregnant ladies had higher levels of dopamine and serotonin, those ‘feel good’ hormones that help with anxiety and depression and suggested that pregnancy massage benefits mum and baby.
4. Improves sleep
Hollebach et al. (2013) reported that massage during pregnancy is associated with a better quality of sleep. By reducing any stress and anxiety mum may feel, massage may help the mum to get a better night’s sleep. Also, by helping relieve any aches or pains, mum might feel more comfortable in sleeping positions that allow her to get a good night’s rest.
5. Enjoy the experience of carrying baby
With all the changes going on, it is important for mums-to-be to relax and enjoy carrying their baby. Mums who are more relaxed, comfortable and happy can enjoy the experience of being pregnant. Pregnancy massage is a great way to help Mum enjoy this time and make the experience unforgettable.
Massage After Pregnancy
After 9 months of pregnancy, labour and birth, it’s safe to say the mum’s body has been through a lot! Now is the time to recover, relax and enjoy spending time with your baby. Massage is a great way to help the body to recover and give the new mum a bit of time to herself to relax and recuperate.
Call today if you have any questions about pregnancy massage or to book your pregnancy massage appointment. If you have any concerns or current conditions, it is best to consult your doctor before having pregnancy massage.
- M Calguneri, H A Bird, and V Wright (1982) ‘Changes in joint laxity occurring during pregnancy.’, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 41(2), pp. 126–128
- Moeini, Givi, Ghasempour (2011) ‘The effect of massage therapy on blood pressure of women with pre-hypertension’, Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 16(1), pp. 61–70.
- E. El-Hosary , H. Abbas Soliman, S. El-Homosy (2016) ‘Effect of Therapeutic Massage on Relieving Pregnancy Discomforts’, IOSR Journal of Nursing and Health Science, 5(4), pp. 57-64.
- T. Field, B. Figueiredoc, M. Hernandez-Reifd , M. Diegoa , O. Deedsa , A. Ascencio (2007) ‘Massage therapy reduces pain in pregnant women, alleviates prenatal depression in both parents and improves their relationships’, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2008(12), pp. 146-150.
- T. Field, M.A. Diego, M. Hernandez-Reif,S. Schanberg and C. Kuhn (2004) ‘Massage therapy effects on depressed pregnant women’, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 25(2), pp. 115-22
- D. Hollenbach, R. Broker, S. Herlehy, and K. Stuber (2013) ‘Non-pharmacological interventions for sleep quality and insomnia during pregnancy: A systematic review’, The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 57(3), pp. 260-270