Pregnancy is no simple journey as many of us know. The process of creating new life and carrying that life is beautiful but also taxing on an expecting mothers body. Not every pregnancy is the same but there are common symptoms; morning sickness, first trimester fatigue, blossoming breasts, relaxing joints, weight gain, stretching ligaments and contractions. There are of course many more symptoms but ill focus on these for the time being.
Massage therapy has forever been and will in the future be used to alleviate many discomforts during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Not a bad wrap right? The ever evolving and ever changing practice has begun to utilize different techniques that address different needs. For Example, Swedish massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulations through mild pressure applied to different muscle groups of the body. Swedish massage reinvigorates the skeletal and circulatory systems and is therefore used to alleviate hormone shifts in these areas.
It’s no secret hormone regulation is off the charts while a woman is pregnant. Over the past 10 years, studies conducted on the out come massage therapy during pregnancy has shown amazing results. Hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly improved when massage therapy is incorporated into prenatal care, leading to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.
Studies conducted with women receiving bi-weekly massages for only five weeks again showed amazing results. Norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) were reduced greatly, dopamine and serotonin levels were increased combating depression and anxiety. Not only is the expecting mother benefiting from improved mood and regulated hormone levels, but also fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications such as low birth weight.
Another possible issue during pregnancy, Edema, or swelling of the joints, is often a very discomforting symptom. Swelling of these joints is caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels. Massage therapy stimulates soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints. Through this process massage therapy also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.
Late in pregnancy the body begins to really feel the weight of new life about to enter the world. As the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back, the pressure of the uterus causes tension in the muscles of the upper and lower legs. As the body tries to cope with this tension swelling occurs in the legs and creates nerve pain. Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women late in pregnancy. Massage therapy addresses inflamed nerves by releasing tension in nearby muscles and joints. Many women experience a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage therapy.
At any point, massage therapy during pregnancy can be a wonderful supplement to the emotional and physical health of expecting mothers. Massage therapy has been shown to improve pregnancy outcome and maternal health. Seeing a therapist who is experienced and trained in prenatal massage is important and gives piece of mind to women. Yeden is a full service massage studio and provides prenatal massage among much more. Yelena, the owner and founder of Yeden, is currently an expecting mother and fully understands all the ups and downs of pregnancy, as well as all the ways massage can alleviate even the worst symptoms of pregnancy. Are you expecting? Get in touch with Yeden, you’ll be happy you did!
– HEIDI LYNNE