Pregnancy can be stressful on both the body and the mind. Although an exciting time, expectant mothers often experience numerous aches and pains, as well as poor sleep and increased anxiety just to name a few of the common ailments. Massage can be an amazing remedy for all of these discomforts, but many women have apprehension about massage during pregnancy – this may be due to hearing about pressure points that can cause contractions or other risks. When performed by a professional, pregnancy massage is not only very safe but can be a wonderful addition to your prenatal care routine. It provides benefits to the mother as well as the baby.
About The Pregnancy Massage Session
Pregnancy massage is a very nurturing practice and it caters to your body’s changes. If you receive massage throughout your pregnancy the process will change along with your body’s changes. Massage therapists specializing in this unique form of massage are aware of the special needs of expectant mothers during the different stages of pregnancy. The work will be done on your back, shoulders, feet, scalp and other areas depending upon your specific needs. You will not be receiving any deep-tissue work on your legs, but the pressure on other parts of your body can be as firm or gentle as you like.
The most notable difference between a pregnancy massage session and a typical massage session is your body position. Pregnancy massage is best performed with the client lying on her side. Tables with a hole for downward-facing massage can still apply pressure to the abdominal region and often cause stretching, especially later in pregnancy, and this can cause increased discomfort instead of relieving it as is intended. Special pillows may also be incorporated into the session depending upon the stage of pregnancy as well.
The Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
- reduce anxiety
- decrease symptoms of depression from hormonal changes
- muscle ache and joint pain relief
- promotes easier labor
- improve newborn health
Pregnancy causes your body to undergo a wide variety of changes, both inside and out. Lower back pain, also known as sciatica, is one of the most common complaints of mothers-to-be. Sciatica occurs during pregnancy when the pelvic muscles begin to put pressure on the sciatic nerve in the back as the uterus begins increasing in size. Sciatica typically gets more bothersome as the pregnancy progresses. Massage has long been known as one of the best treatments for many types of back pain, and this is true for sciatica experienced by expectant mothers. It relieves the muscle tension and relaxes the irritated nerves, relieving the discomfort.
In addition to the increased pressure on the back, pregnancy also leads to increased pressure on the blood vessels and in turn to poor circulation. This occurs mainly in the legs. As a result, many women also experience edema or joint swelling. This is uncomfortable and painful, in the knees and ankles. Your feet may also ache and be swollen. Pregnancy massage in Winston-Salem can reduce the fluid collection in these joints. Improved circulation also ensures that the lymphatic system is working efficiently. Your lymphatic system helps your body flush out toxins and keeps your feeling energetic.
Fluctuations in hormones – such as a decrease in dopamine and serotonin and increases in cortisol and norepinephrine – lead to higher stress levels, increased anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Bi-weekly massage is shown to help regulate all of these and help the body maintain its hormonal balance. This can aid with your sleep and you will not only feel better following the massage but research has shown that maintaining this chemical balance decreases complications during pregnancy.
Pressure Points During Pregnancy and Other Risks
The myth that certain pressure points must be avoided during pregnancy and thus massage should be avoided during pregnancy are just that, myths. There are no known pressure points that will induce contractions or disrupt labor. Your therapist will obviously not massage your stomach, but that is because it will likely cause discomfort – the same reason pregnancy massage is performed with you lying on your side.
During pregnancy, women become more susceptible to blood clots, particularly in the legs. Any massage work performed on your legs will be very gentle and expertly administered. This is to avoid dislodging any potential clots. Massage therapists with the necessary advanced training in pregnancy massage know how to relieve edema and any other leg ailments without any risk to you or your baby.
Pregnancy Massage Precautions
Expectant mothers are advised not to begin massage therapy until after the first twelve weeks or even wait until the second trimester. Massage during the early weeks sometimes causes increased morning sickness, but otherwise, massage is safe throughout all stages of pregnancy. If you already receive regular massage treatments, you should let your massage therapist know you are pregnant so you can be properly accommodated during your sessions.
As with all forms of prenatal therapy, massage should be discussed with your healthcare provider, and you should be sure that your massage therapist specializes in prenatal massage. Additional caution should be used if you are experiencing severe morning sickness, have diabetes or preeclampsia, or you’ve experienced any unusual pain or bleeding during your pregnancy.
The benefits of pregnancy massage in Winston-Salem outweigh the risks. It is a great way to improve overall health, and it can be easily incorporated into any prenatal routine.