Special Care for a Delicate Time in a Woman’s Life.
Making a baby from scratch is hard work and takes a toll on the body and mind. Studies have found that moms-to-be can reap both mental and physical rewards from prenatal massage. In fact, massage therapy is the leading alternative therapy recommended by doctors for pregnant women. The list of common ailments that plague women during this 10 month period seems never ending.
Pregnancy does a number on your posture. As the uterus grows, a woman’s center of gravity shifts. This shift compresses the lower back, weakens the core, and places a lot of pressure on your legs and feet. The additional weight and increase in fluid volume also contributes to a mom-to-be’s discomfort.
How Can Massage Therapy Help?
Your muscles are working hard to carry you and baby and will certainly appreciate a massage. The weight of your growing baby can cause joint stress, muscle tension and swelling. This can cause inflammation of nearby nerves and can lead to sciatic nerve pain. Massage therapy can help reduce fluid retention, relax tight muscles and help decompress the joints.
Beyond relieving tight muscles, there are other advantages of prenatal massage: Studies show massage therapy lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. Researchers have linked these hormonal changes to fewer childbirth complications, including a 75 percent reduction in premature births among depressed women. Though you don’t need to be depressed or pregnant to reap the benefits of massage.
Special Care for a Delicate Time
A prenatal massage differs from a traditional massage depending on the trimester. Every woman is different and so is every pregnancy but there are some general guidelines and precautions for prenatal massage. Be sure to discuss any of your concerns with your therapist. What works for one woman and one pregnancy may not work for another. For example, during my pregnancy I was comfortable lying on my stomach until around 25 weeks, while some are women are only comfortable face down until 16 weeks or not at all. Here at Bodywork by Bobbi we know that one size doesn’t fit all and we pride ourselves on creating a session just for you!
Old Wives’ Tail
I’d like to take a moment and discuss some misconceptions regarding massage during pregnancy.
First: No parts of the body are completely off-limits, even feet. While some people fear that massaging certain areas of the foot can bring on labor, if this were true, every woman who was overdue would just get a foot massage instead of being induced in the hospital. Why does this unfounded belief persist? Most likely it stems from the fact that reflexology associates pressure points on the sides of the ankles with the ovaries and uterus, but pushing on these areas isn’t going to start contractions.
Second: Massage Therapy is safe during all trimesters of a healthy pregnancy. Some believe that massage shouldn’t be preformed in the first trimester due to risk of miscarriage. The fact is that if miscarriage if going to occur, it would occur regardless of massage. Many women experience morning sickness during the first trimester, and if you already feel nauseous, massage therapy may make you feel even worse. Talk with your massage therapist about your morning sickness to decide whether massage is right for you at that time.
Consult with your doctor in all high risk pregnancy scenarios.
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