Massage is a wonderful aid in decreasing physical stress in muscles and joints as well as aiding in a general feeling of relaxation and well being. What about Massage during Pregnancy?
Is it safe?
As long as there are no complications or contraindications massage is most certainly permitted for the duration of the pregnancy from 12 weeks onwards. During the first trimester the body is adapting to a multitude of hormonal changes. It is recommended that the mum to be takes extra care not to take on any extra physical stress as the body adjusts to these changes. To be safe, massage is not recommended during the first trimester.
Pregnancy massage differs slightly from general relaxation massage. It should be performed by a qualified therapist who has been trained in the appropriate techniques.
Body Position for Massage
With the use of a special pregnancy contoured mat, mum can lay on her belly! Extra padding on top of the table is positioned with a wide space for the belly and breasts to sit in while completely avoiding any pressure on these areas. Most clients find this extremely comfortable.
A comfortable side lying position with supportive pillows is also another option
Physical Changes during pregnancy
The physical changes during pregnancy are quite obvious. As the baby grows and the belly expands, the tummy muscles stretch to accommodate growth. The front of the body changes from being concave to convex increasing the curvature of the lumbar spine.The mother’s body produces the hormone relaxin which loosens the ligaments deep within the pelvis assisting in widening the birth canal.
As the muscles and structures adjust accordingly, some muscles tighten in response to help stabilise the area. These changes may cause discomfort in the lower back, sacroiliac joint and hips.
Upper body posture may also be affected due to increase in breast size resulting in tension. Fluid retention during pregnancy is also common. Massage can help correct posture; relieve tension and aches in muscles and joints. At the same time treatment encourages lymphatic flow and lymphatic drainage
There are also many hormone changes which take place throughout pregnancy which can affect you not only physically but emotionally as well.
One of the hormones abundantly present pre and postnatal is oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a feel good hormone, the love hormone which helps mother and baby bond.
Studies show frequent massage during pregnancy increases production of happy hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. Massage can help in reducing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.
Massage can also be used as a tool to help bring on pregnancy in its final stage, and some people even use massage throughout labour.
Overall massage has many positive benefits for an expectant mum. Most of all giving a sense of wellbeing, physical ease and relaxation.
If you have any questions or queries regarding massage and your pregnancy feel free to get in touch with Sarah Trew any time at PMPP.