Pregnancy is exciting, rewarding, beautiful, and—often times—uncomfortable for expectant mothers. It’s no secret that the miracle of childbirth is hard on a woman’s body. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which mothers-to-be can take care of themselves throughout pregnancy to ease the bodily strain of childbearing and hasten their post-delivery recovery. One such way is through the art of prenatal massage. Here are three benefits of prenatal massage that you—and baby—are sure to like:
1. Stress Down, Wellness Up
Preparing for the newest member of your family—though exciting—certainly has its stresses. The ups and downs of pregnancy often leave expectant mothers with emotional whiplash. When it comes to balancing the joys and worries, prenatal massage is proven to help. Studies conducted within the past ten years show that mothers-to-be who incorporate massage therapy into their prenatal care experience mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. In one study, stress hormones were reduced and feel-good hormones were increased among pregnant women who received bi-weekly massages for five weeks. Furthermore, prenatal massage reduces anxiety and decreases the symptoms of depression. In another study, researchers saw a 75 percent reduction in premature births among pregnant women who suffered from depression.
The stress-relieving benefits of prenatal massage can even carry over into the birthing process. The positive hormone changes that pregnant women who receive prenatal massage experience lead to fewer complications during birth, as well as fewer complications in the health of the baby, such as low birth weight. Additionally, prenatal massage can ease stress that occurs post-delivery, allowing new mothers to focus exclusively on their babies.
2. It Won’t Let Pregnancy Get on Your Nerves
Commonly experienced among expectant mothers is sciatic nerve pain, which occurs late in pregnancy, when the uterus begins to rest on the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. This, in turn, applies tension to the legs, which causes swelling and adds pressure to nerves. Prenatal massage alleviates sciatic nerve pain by reducing swelling and giving nerves their space. Massage is able to reduce swelling, because…
3. It Keeps Fluids Moving
During pregnancy, swelling—often in the hands, feet, and ankles—occurs as the uterus applies pressure to major blood vessels and reduces circulation. The gentle rubbing of prenatal massage redistributes collected fluids, such as blood and lymph, from swollen joints and other areas. By getting the circulatory and lymphatic systems moving, prenatal massage allows the body to more effectively remove tissue waste and replace it with oxygen and nutrients for use by mother and baby alike. The removal of toxins can also prevent expectant mothers from experiencing frequent fatigue, thereby allowing them to maintain their lifestyles (taking care of other children, exercising, going to work, etc.) more easily.
Additional benefits of prenatal massage include headache reduction, strengthened immunity, and better sleep. Be sure to talk to your doctor about whether prenatal massage is a good decision for you.
Elements offers prenatal massage from massage therapists who are specifically trained and certified to work with expectant mothers. Let us build a session that is right for you and your baby. Schedule an appointment today and make prenatal massage a priority during your pregnancy by calling (623) 399-4400.