Massage is a wonderful way to improve your health, reduce stress, relieve muscle tension and help with soreness. But how healthy is massage for pregnant women? According to the experts, prenatal massage therapy can be a very important piece of a woman’s prenatal care routine.
What are the benefits of prenatal massage?
A lot of studies show that massage therapy for pregnant women has several positive impacts on the pregnancy. These include:
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing depression
- Relieving muscle aches and joint pains
- Improving labor
- Better health for your newborn
What happens when pregnant women get a prenatal massage?
So, how exactly does therapeutic massage help pregnant women reduce their stress? Medical professionals explain that the following hormones were affected:
- Norepinephrine (stress hormone) was reduced
- Cortisol (stress hormone) was reduced
- Dopamine levels increased (low levels are linked to depression)
- Serotonin levels increased (low levels are linked to depression)
Are there other benefits to prenatal massage?
With all the health benefits already listed, could there possibly be more positives associated with prenatal massage? Yes! As it turns out, prenatal massages can also achieve the following results:
- Reduced back pain
- Reduced joint pain
- Improved circulation
- Reduced edema – excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.
- Reduced headaches
- Quality sleep
- More oxygen in your soft tissues and muscles
- Reduced sciatic nerve pain – sciatic nerve pain is common in pregnant women because the uterus rests on pelvic and lower back muscles, which spreads tension to leg muscles. The leg muscles swell and can affect nearby nerves.
Who should you hire for a prenatal massage?
When it comes to scheduling your prenatal massage, it is imperative that you find someone who is a certified prenatal massage therapist. Although most massage therapists received training on massaging pregnant women, certified massage therapists are trained above and beyond the minimum standards. They are better able to deal with the specific needs of pregnant women, like how to put you in a safe position and prevent straining ligaments. Certified prenatal massage therapists also know what things to look for in pregnant women, like blood clots and varicose veins.
Are there any risks with prenatal massage?
Before you schedule a prenatal massage, you should speak to your doctor beforehand if you have any of the following conditions:
- High-risk pregnancy – you and/or your baby have an increased chance of health problems
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension – high blood pressure, fluid retention and/or protein in your urine
- Preeclampsia – high blood pressure or damage to your organs during pregnancy, often your kidney
- History of preterm labor – you’ve had children before 37 weeks
Prenatal massage is a very healthy addition to your prenatal care package, and it can be done during the first, second or third trimesters of your pregnancy, although some facilities do not offer massages to pregnant women in their first trimester because of an increased risk of miscarriage.
If you’re still unsure, just talk to your doctor before you schedule your massage.