Think of all the joy you will have when your baby finally arrives after those nine long months that seemed as if they would never end. Yet, you probably never thought of all of the bodily changes that would take place during this very special time either. There is something that you could benefit from and perhaps have never thought of and that is the benefits of pregnancy massage.
Studies have been performed that indicate that this type of massage when performed during your pregnancy is able to reduce anxiety, relieve depression symptoms, soothe those bothersome joint pains and muscle aches and even improve the outcome of your labor and benefit the health of your new little bundle of joy.
Swedish massage, as the technique is often called, is able to relax built-up muscle tension but this form of massage can also improve the lymphatic system as well as blood circulation. These results are accomplished by applying mild pressure to the body’s various muscle groups. Swedish massage is recommended during the prenatal part of your pregnancy because it can assuage many of the common discomforts that are known to take place in the skeletal and circulatory systems that are triggered by hormonal shifts that take place during your pregnancy. Here are just a few benefits of pregnancy massage:
Regulation of Hormones
Over the past decade, studies have been conducted indicating that hormone levels linked with stress and relaxation are changed significantly. These hormones have a distinct effect on mood relaxation, and there has been varying degrees of improvement upon cardiovascular health when Swedish massage was done during the prenatal care of women. For some women who experienced only five weeks of bi-weekly massages, there was a reduction of cortisol and norepinephrine, which are commonly known as the “stress hormones”. There was also an increase of serotonin and dopamine levels, which, when these levels get low, depression may rear its ugly head. When there was a change in these hormonal levels, fewer complications were seen during the baby’s birth. Newborn complications, like low birth weight, were shown to decrease. When Swedish massage was integrated into the prenatal care regimen, there seemed to be benefits to both mother and baby.
Swelling, which is called edema in medical terminology, can be a very bothersome symptom during your pregnancy. Do your legs look like balloons and have your ankles all but disappeared? This is due to a reduction in your circulation, and an increase of pressure is being exerted on all of your major blood vessels due to your expanding uterus. Swedish massage will help stimulate the soft tissues so that the collection of fluids found in your swollen joints may be reduced. There will also be an improvement in tissue waste removal, which is carried by the lymphatic system of your body.
Nerve Pain Improvement
Many women experience pain in the sciatic nerve during pregnancy. The uterus exerts pressure on your upper and lower leg muscles. This causes swelling in your legs and increased pressure is put on nerves nearby. Massage therapy can help to relieve this problem. This is just one of the many benefits of pregnancy massage.
Hopefully, you now understand the benefits of pregnancy message and may be willing to give it a try the next time you are expecting your little bundle of joy.
Fran Kehoe is a fully qualified and insured Sports and remedial massage therapist with ITEC Diplomas in Sports Massage, Reflexology, Anatomy & Physiology, Holistic Massage and a FHT Certificate at The Massage Centre, Chiswick.
Click here for more information on Pregnancy Massage and its health benefits.