What is Prenatal Massage?
Pregnancy can be difficult; as the body transforms and the mother puts on weight to accommodate her growing baby, the placenta, expanding uterus, tense muscles and sore spots can make it hard to get comfortable. Most women experience insomnia, aches and pains, and general discomfort, which affects mood swings and even mental health.
Prenatal massage, although similar to regular massage, is specifically designed to aid mothers in their extraordinary journey through pregnancy and eventually, birth. Allowing the mother to relax not only in body but also, mind and spirit, a prenatal massage improves circulation, eases tension and cramping in muscles, and provides a sense of well-being.
It is not uncommon to experience everything from ordinary back pain to sciatica, headaches and/or migraines, anxiety, edema (swelling), leg cramps, and joint pain throughout pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters. The extra weight a woman carries during pregnancy puts an incredible strain on her back, shoulders, neck, abdomen, etc., not to mention how the shift in her centre of gravity affects her very physical stability, and the pressure which is applied to pelvic joints as ligaments are softened in preparation for labour. Taking the time to visit a prenatal massage therapist and investing in regular massages can help to make all of these symptoms bearable, if not alleviate many of them altogether.
Because pregnant mothers have different requirements from regular massage patients, therapists must be trained and specially certified to perform prenatal massage, adjusting their techniques according to the woman’s needs. Among the subjects studied are the physiology and anatomy of the pregnant body, safe positioning on the massage table, methods to support healthy pregnancies, and a pregnant woman’s emotional needs.
You might be wondering how a pregnant woman lies on the table; between swollen, tender breasts and a growing belly, lying facedown on a standard massage table is not advisable.
Again, this is another reason why it is important to seek out a certified prenatal massage therapist; they have techniques—from special pillows, wedges, and/or specially designed tables with hollows—to ensure your maximum comfort. Certified therapists also understand that each woman is unique and may require additional adjustments during the massage process, and they are trained to find the right position for your needs.
Of course, communication is key: you must always be honest with your therapist in regards to how you are feeling throughout the massage, so that she may prevent any discomforts. Direct her to the areas you feel need the most work, and she will be able to make the best decisions on how to proceed with your treatment from there.
Prenatal massage can work wonders for a mother’s physical, emotional and mental health. Our therapists at Unique Health & Wellness, Inc. are among the best in Edmonton, and we are here to serve you. If would like to book a prenatal massage or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at 780-938-8623 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you!
The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
According to research, prenatal massage offers a wealth of benefits to both mother and baby, everything from easing a mother’s discomfort to potentially easing labour to nourishing the fetus inside the womb with an infusion of extra oxygen and nutrients from improved blood circulation.
Reducing stress in the mother is a top priority in any pregnancy, as this aids in soothing anxiety and potentially preventing—or at least reducing the risk of—depression. During a prenatal massage, a woman’s levels of cortisol and norepinephrine are greatly reduced, while serotonin and dopamine levels are increased. What does this mean? A stronger immune system and improved sleep quality. And that’s something every pregnant mother both desires (and deserves!)
Pregnancy causes extraordinary and unique stress on a woman’s body, often resulting in sciatica and/or SI (sacro-iliac) joint dysfunction. The physical changes a mother undergoes during her 9 (sometimes 10) months of carrying and growing another tiny human being within her own body are remarkable, but even if she is unaffected by sciatica or SI, most mothers will still experience major discomforts in the joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, which cause back, shoulder, abdominal and pelvic pain. This leads to fatigue and sometimes emotional distress, which is not only bad for the mother, but for baby as well, since excess stress causes higher levels of cortisol in the body. Continued physical and emotional stress throughout pregnancy can also lead to longer, more painful labours and eventually, a host of medical interventions that the mother may not have wished for, leading to a difficult and sometimes traumatic birth experience.
Many of these problems are preventable however, with proper diet, gentle exercise, mental and physical preparation, and prenatal massage can be essential in aiding any new mother through these processes. In various studies conducted over the last several years, women who received prenatal massage on a regular basis throughout their pregnancies experienced a significant reduction in their perception of pain during labour and eventually, delivery. Some even laboured for far less time than those women who did not receive massage therapy, and the risk of having their babies prematurely decreased. According to the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment scores, women who undergo regular prenatal massage therapy also give birth to exceptionally healthy babies.
The cumulative effects of prenatal massage make for calmer, happier mothers, many of whom have been shown to bond more readily with their babies. Prenatal massage also appears to help reduce or (in some cases) even prevent postpartum depression.
As you can see, the benefits to both mother and baby found in prenatal massage make it highly worthwhile to look into. Even if you are down to your last few weeks before birth, scheduling at least 2-4 massages will do you (and baby!) a world of good.
Our therapists at Unique Health & Wellness Inc. are among the best in Edmonton, and we are here to serve you. If would like to book a prenatal massage or have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at 780-938-8623 or email@example.com. We are here for you!