Massage therapy has been used for centuries to improve overall health and help alleviate a long list of complaints. When it comes to pregnancy, prenatal massages can help decrease mental health issues like anxiety and depression, relieve muscle and joint pain, and even improve labour outcomes and newborn health.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see that prenatal massages have so many benefits. If you’ve just become pregnant or you’re looking to become pregnant, we recommend exploring the benefits of massage therapy for expecting mothers.
Are you intrigued by a prenatal massage? Here are the seven pregnancy massage benefits for expecting mothers:
Benefit #1: Eases muscle tension
If you’re in the later stages of pregnancy, you may be experiencing nerve pain. This is mainly due to the uterus resting on the pelvic floor and lower back muscles. This pressure spreads tension to the muscles in the upper and lower leg. This in turn causes them to swell and put even more pressure on nerves that are located nearby.
So where does massage therapy come into play? It directly focuses on the inflamed nerves to help release muscle tension. Prenatal massage for sciatic nerve pain has been shown to significantly reduce this type of pain.
Benefit #2: Pain relief
Pain relief is one of the best pregnancy massage benefits. Prenatal massages don’t just help with nerve pain. While you’re pregnant, your abdomen grows outward and your posture changes to realign the center of gravity over the hips. This can cause stress on the joints and muscles. What this results in is low back, pelvic, neck, or shoulder pain.
Prenatal massage also helps with back pain that may result from pregnancy. More on this later.
Benefit #3: Decreases swelling
We’ve all heard about how much swelling we need to endure during pregnancy. This is no fun at all. One potential remedy for this is prenatal massage.
Swelling of the joints during pregnancy, also known as edema, is caused by a reduction in the circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the uterus.
Massage helps by stimulating the soft tissues to help reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints.
Another benefit is that this process also improves the removal of tissue waste.
Benefit #4: Relaxation
When you’re pregnant, chances are you’re still working, taking care of your younger children, doing housework and other daily tasks. You may be able to handle this just fine normally, but when you’re pregnant, everything starts to take its toll.
Carve out some time for yourself where you go for a massage so you can reap the benefits mentioned here, but also spend some time relaxing and tending to your sore muscles. Doing this regularly will help with the aches and pains that accompany pregnancy.
When you’re relaxed and your muscles have been worked, some of the aches and pains should be easier to manage.
Benefit #5: Better sleep
If you’re pregnant, you have probably realized by now just how difficult it can be to sleep some nights. Prenatal massage is something that can help with this. It’s been shown to increase levels of the hormone serotonin which is a precursor to melatonin. This is the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles, so it’s very important in getting a good night’s sleep.
If you’re desperate for sleep, want to sleep more, or better, consider going for regular prenatal massages.
Benefit #6: Regulates hormones
It’s been found in recent studies, that hormone levels associated with stress and relaxation can be significantly altered when women attend a prenatal massage. This often leads to other benefits like mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.
To take full advantage of the benefits, pregnant women must attend massages once every two weeks for five weeks. When this happens, hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol are reduced, while other hormones like dopamine and serotonin are increased.
Benefit #7: Reduces back pain
With all of the added weight to your abdomen, it’s bound to affect your back. You will find (or may have already found) that your back is giving you a lot of trouble. You may have aches and pains in your back that make it difficult to stand or walk for prolonged periods. A prenatal massage can help with this as your massage therapist can spend some time massaging your back and reducing muscle tension. Go for regular prenatal massages and you will begin to see a positive difference.
As you can see, there are so many benefits of prenatal massage. From decreasing nerve pain and swelling to promoting better health, there are so many positive aspects of prenatal massage. If you have never been for a prenatal massage and have concerns, give your chiropractor a call and someone will be pleased to answer your questions and reassure you. You never know how much a prenatal massage can make a pregnancy at least a little bit easier!