Whether you’re at the beginning stages of your pregnancy or if you have a few more weeks to go, no doubt you have spent some time thinking about your pregnancy, your labor, and how to best care for your body and your growing baby.
We’re guessing that your free time (rather, the free time that’s not spent peeing, sleeping, and eating) has been spent researching the best items to register for, narrowing down baby names, and working to create a beautiful nursery.
All of this preparation, of course, is necessary and good. However, have you neglected a very important part of pregnancy? The part where you devote some energy to taking care of YOU? Or Have you ever wondered about the benefits of prenatal massage?
At HALINA, we recommend prenatal massage because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by the hormone shifts of pregnancy. It also aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation. Mild pressure is applied to the muscle groups of the body. In addition to reducing tension, here are three very important benefits of prenatal massage.
1. Regulation Of Pregnancy Hormone Levels
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.
In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol – hormones associated with stress – were reduced. Dopamine and serotonin levels were increased and you may not know that low levels of these hormones are associated with depression.
These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth as well as fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence strongly suggests there are maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
2. Reduction Of Swelling
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus.
Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.
3. Improvement Of Nerve Pain
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women late in their pregnancy as the uterus rests on the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves.
Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.