Written by: Marion Penny Mallette, Registered Massage Therapist
From reduced swelling to improved sleep, studies over the years have taught us that prenatal massage therapy paves the path for a smoother pregnancy experience.
If you’re looking for ways to walk in optimal health through your pregnancy, here are a few reasons why prenatal massage therapy may be a great place to start.
Let’s talk about stress
Have you ever heard of cortisol?
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Essentially, it’s how our bodies manage stress. But stress while pregnant can be a common experience for a lot of women. After all, your body is changing in drastic ways, and you’re embarking on a new chapter in life, so it’s safe to say there's a lot on your mind. Prenatal massage therapy helps your body relax. It also creates space for you to unwind and think, which is something that many of us don’t get a chance to do. All this combined can help you manage and reduce stress & anxiety and even decrease symptoms of depression.
Goodnight, sleep tight
As your pregnancy progresses, a good night’s sleep becomes more of a challenge. Playing soft music, loading up on pillows, or binge watching a new series are just some of the ways we try to trick our expanding body to get some rest.
Prenatal massage works to calm down the nervous system and releases those “feel good” hormones to help improve your quality of sleep. So even though it may be hard to wind down, when you do fall asleep, your body can get the deep rest it needs.
Swelling is a common and uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. It’s caused by added volume, reduced circulation, and increased pressure on the major blood vessels. Massage can help manipulate the soft tissue to move along any extra fluid, reducing swelling and making you feel much more comfortable.
Decrease pain and discomfort in your changing body
Prenatal massage therapy offers a safe, drug free alternative for pain relief. By allowing your body to fully relax while relieving muscle tension and improving blood flow, prenatal massage can alleviate much of the discomfort that comes with being pregnant.
Lower back pain is also a very common symptom in pregnancy. Some women can even develop Sciatica, which is when the sciatic nerve becomes impinged, usually causing a great deal of radiating pain down the leg.
Massage can work to manage these pains in the lower body and improve this symptom by addressing tight muscles in your lower back, hip, glutes, and legs.
Labour and Postpartum Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Did you know?
Studies show that pregnant women who received regular massages reported having shorter labours, and less incidences of postpartum depression due to reduced stress and tension in the body, and improved circulation.
Ready to try a prenatal massage? Here’s what you can expect
Your appointment begins with your Registered Massage Therapist going over your initial health history to ensure everything is up to date. Despite common misconceptions, prenatal massage can begin at any week in pregnancy, including your first trimester. Should there be any special considerations that have been discussed, your RMT will make the appropriate modifications during your treatment. This initial check in ensures you and baby are always safe.
The positioning of your treatment may also look a little different from what you might be used to.
Instead of lying face down and then turning on your back, you’ll be treated from a side-lying position and will be required to change sides mid-way through. You’ll be propped up with a pillow under your head to keep you elevated. We also use a small wedge underneath your belly and place pillows between your legs to keep your body in a comfortable neutral position that takes pressure off your joints.
After every treatment it’s always very important to drink water. Massage is considered a mild form of exercise, so it’s important for you to stay hydrated throughout. Finally, to get the most out of your treatment it’s encouraged to rest after your appointment, even if it’s just 30 minutes.
We can’t wait to treat you to your next prenatal massage! Book your appointment today.