7 Great Benefits of a Prenatal Massage
Many women think enduring the normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy are just a given they have to live with. The truth is there is no need to grin (or grimace) and bear the backaches, edema (or swelling), headaches, leg cramps and stiff neck.
There are a variety of massage techniques that are beneficial to women during a low-risk pregnancy in alleviating many common complaints. In the case of high-risk pregnancies, however, the best advice is to consult your doctor or midwife before beginning massage therapy or any alternative healthcare program.
7 Ways Massage Can Help
- Reduction in stress, anxiety or depression – The massage lowers levels of the hormones norepinephrine and cortisol while dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are increased. This results in reduced levels of anxiety, depression and stress, while boosting energy levels with accompanied improvements in mood and general relaxation.
- Better quality of sleep – The effects of massage on hormone levels leads to more restful and restorative sleep.
- Preparation for birth – Massage helps your ligaments, muscles, and tissues adjust to the extra weight as the baby and your belly grow. These adjustments provide support and help you maintain good posture as the alignment of your body changes. Studies have shown that changes in the hormone levels also mean both mother and baby benefit from a less taxing labor.
- Reduced pain and swelling – the lower back and legs of pregnant women are sites notorious for pain and swelling. Regular massage can help low backache and reduce leg edema.
- Increased circulation – Stimulation of the tissues increases blood and lymphatic flow. That means more oxygen and nutrients are available to both the mother and baby while there is more efficient removal of toxins and metabolic waste. Increased blood flow also helps to relieve tension in muscles that bear the extra weight of the baby.
- Headache relief – Massage reduces the chances of migraines or tension headaches by relaxing trigger points and muscle spasms
- Help with other pregnancy discomforts – Common symptoms experienced during pregnancy such as acid reflux, fatigue and nasal congestion may also be addressed with the use of massage.
Massage therapy is a safe and healthy way to reduce the physical and mental stress associated with pregnancy, as well as to promote overall wellness.