Some women really enjoy being pregnant. In fact, many mums-to-be are keen to embrace all of the challenges and experiences that carrying a child will bring, even if they are often unsettling, uncomfortable or just plain painful! However, many new mums are so eager to look after their unborn baby, they forget they should take a little time to look after themselves too.
We’ve come up with six reasons why you should ask for a regular pregnancy massage (or prenatal massage) from a qualified local therapist.
This kind of holistic treatment will:
Help prevent or manage pain and tension in the lower back and pelvis. The extra weight of your baby is sure to leave you in some discomfort, especially during the latter months of your pregnancy. A massage therapist will work to reduce tension in the muscles to relieve pain and help reduce muscle spasm.
Help you maintain your posture as new demands are being placed on your body. Again, carrying your baby will have undoubtedly placed higher demands on your back, neck and shoulders. Increased stress on the muscles and joints could cause you to slouch, resulting in bad posture, which can lead to joint, ligament or muscle pain. Regular massage will relieve tension from these areas to reduce tightness and help your muscles cope with the strain of carrying a child.
Release a number of happiness-inducing hormones. Studies have found that pregnancy massage can boost levels of serotonin and dopamine in pregnant women. Further research carried out by the University of the Miami School of Medicine also found that massage can lower the amount of noradrenaline, a known stress hormone found in the body, which lowers anxiety levels.
Reduces swelling. Pregnancy often causes swelling of the ankles and legs Massage may help reduce swelling by improving your circulation.
Boost your immune system. Research has shown that massage can actually give your immune system a wake-up call by improving your lymphathic circulation. This means you’ll be more likely to fight off the viruses and infections that could cause complications in your pregnancy.
Encourage relaxation and enhance your well being. Be sure to book yourself in for a prenatal massage if you’re tired, drained or having trouble sleeping. In many cases, just taking some time out for yourself will have a positive effect on your mental wellbeing. Most pregnant women who are suffering from insomnia will report improved sleeping patterns after regular massages. The experience won’t just leave you feeling stress-free – a massage will also encourage a deeper, longer-lasting physiological relaxation response from the body.
Clearly, getting a pregnancy massage shouldn’t be regarded as a luxury. This hugely beneficial treatment should be embraced by all those who are struggling to cope, either physically, emotionally or spiritually, with carrying a baby. However, you need to ensure that the masseur you choose has the relevant knowledge and experience.
Finding The Right Therapist
It goes without saying that your chosen pregnancy massage therapist needs to have a practical understanding of the changes that affect the body, as some well-regarded general massage techniques can actually have an undesirable effect on the pregnant woman.
If you live in the UK, look for a therapist who has been awarded the National Occupational Standard (NOS) and who has completed a recognised pregnancy massage course. He or she will be trained to recognise the physiological demands of pregnancy and will know what is and isn’t safe for you during pregnancy.
High Risk Pregnancy
Most women who fall into the high risk category will be able to enjoy a prenatal massage but we would always recommend speaking to your midwife or GP before booking a treatment to minimise any potential adverse effects.
Eleanor Searle writes on behalf of Stretch Physiotherapy & Pilates, a clinic that offers tailored pregnancy massage in Chelmsford for ladies with child.