Is massage during pregnancy safe?
Massage Therapy is generally safe if performed by an experienced Pregnancy Massage Therapist. Our recommendation is for you to discuss Massage Therapy with your doctor or obstetrician for any individual conditions or complications specific to you and your needs before your first visit. Once you have consulted with your doctor the Therapist can take into account any specific needs you may have.
How will it improve my experience of Pregnancy?
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for many pregnant women.
Can Massage alleviate any possible sciatic pain?
Sciatic pain is experienced by some women in late pregnancy due to postural shifts in their changing body. Massage therapy can help to restore balance in the lower back and pelvis by alleviating any imbalance in muscle tension that may have developed due to the postural shift. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.
What are the Benefits of Pregnancy Massage?
Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques which aim to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Massage increases local and general blood circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both the mother and baby. This means greater vitality and less fatigue. Massage provides relief from muscle cramps, spasms, tightness, tension, “knots” and myofascial pain, especially in the lower back, neck, hips, and legs. It can also help to alleviate headaches, backaches and sciatic pain.
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health, when massage therapy was introduced to women’s prenatal care. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Reduction of swelling
Edema, fluid retention, during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen hands and feet. Massage helps carry away the lactic acid and other cellular waste products that build up and therefore reduces muscle fatigue. Eliminating waste products (through the lymphatic and circulatory systems), helps combat overall fatigue and increases energy by increasing blood and lymph drainage.
How does Massage help with the changing needs of my body?
During pregnancy a woman’s body undergoes many changes; some may be stressful and uncomfortable. Massage is a perfect way to reduce stress and promote general well being. Massage has a powerful ability to sedate and restore the nervous system. A relaxed mother will have a happier, healthier pregnancy and (possibly) an easier childbirth experience. The nurturing experience of massage throughout pregnancy allows the mother to connect with the joy of pregnancy and increases body awareness, increasing personal health awareness and connection to Baby. Such a positive experience can also help allay the possibility of post natal depression.
Massage can also increase muscular flexibility, which is very helpful during the last trimester and during the birth itself and reduces stress on the weight-bearing joints. Massage during pregnancy addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormonal and postural shifts during pregnancy.
How often should I receive massage when I am pregnant?
Each and every body and pregnancy is different, so there is no standard answer. The Massage Therapist will design the consultation around the needs of your body and lifestyle. The general recommendation would be to aim for once a month until you reach the third trimester. Once in the third trimester, you can choose to increase the visits to one a week in the last few weeks. Listen to your body, any discomfort can then be addressed by your Therapist on the day.
I’ve had some complications with my pregnancy. Can I still have a massage?
If any of the complications or conditions listed below apply to you I’d advise you to give your GP, obstetrician or midwife a quick call or email before you come in for a massage. This is just to make sure that massage is safe for you and your baby.
Along with the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health supplement proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal health. Consult with your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any new therapeutic practice.