Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prenatal Massage

Why Every Pregnant Woman Should Have Pregnancy Massages

Massage during pregnancy is a therapeutic type of bodywork that is designed to address the needs of the pregnant women as her body goes through the typical changes of gestation. Massage can be received in all stages of pregnancy and is quite safe and often recommended by medical physicians, obstetricians, midwives and other related professionals.

Is Massage Safe during Pregnancy?
Massage therapy is very safe during the entire pregnancy, but must be performed by a trained professional. Massage during pregnancy can greatly improve your pregnancy experience and help your body get ready for labour. A pregnant woman's body is stressed in many ways during pregnancy, therefore receiving prenatal massage can often improve the experience of pregnancy and be a benefit to your health and well being.

Benefits of Massage during Pregnancy
Prenatal massage helps:
  • Sciatic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Constipation and digestion
  • Swelling of face and extremities
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Hip and leg pain
  • Muscular cramping
  • Depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Cardiovascular and circulatory problems
  • Aid in preventing complications during birth

    Studies have shown how maternal and newborn health is benefited by maintain physical and emotional relaxation. When therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care it may help you to maintain a calm and pain-free pregnancy. Massage therapy performed during pregnancy can relieve muscles aches, ease joint pain, decrease anxiety, and prepare both mother and baby for an easy labour.

  • Here at Yorkville Massage Therapy, we view stress as being a important part of many of the health issues woman experience during pregnancy. Stress resulting in muscle pain, headaches and lack of sleep is caused by a variety of situations during pregnancy, but is exasperated when women are feeling stressed.

    Often, stress can be reduced when pregnant women reduce their busy schedules and take special care of themselves during this important time of physical development for both mother and infant. Massage during pregnancy is often the only time a busy pregnant woman has to relax and take care of herself. A soothing pregnancy massage can help decrease norepinephrine and cortisol, which are stress hormones that can affect a pregnant body. Receiving a regular massage can increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which if low may lead to mood disorders including depression.

    Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy
    Many women experience sciatic pain during pregnancy, but especially during the last 4-6 weeks. This is due to the growing uterus that puts pressure on the lower back and on the pelvic ligaments, nerves, vessels and muscles. The weight of the baby can cause strain on the nerves that innervate the lower extremities. The result is a sharp shooting pain that begins at the small of the back and travels toward the leg down to the knee or the foot. Sciatic pain is usually felt more on one side only, but can also alternate from left to right or vice versa. Regular massage during pregnancy helps decrease sciatic pain and helps re-align the body to improved posture.

    Edema During Pregnancy
    Edema is the swelling of face, joints and extremities during pregnancy. It is caused by an imbalanced water distribution within the tissues and by reduced circulation. During the last stages of pregnancy, most likely during third trimester, the growing uterus puts pressure on the major blood vessels leading to low circulation in the extremities. Massage during pregnancy has the power to stimulate soft tissues and reduce accumulation of fluids in swollen joints like ankles, hands and other areas.

    Position during Pregnancy Massage
    Your registered massage therapist will most likely massage you while lying on your side during second and third trimester. Do not go to any clinic or therapist who uses massage tables with holes or pillows with holes. This can be very uncomfortable.

    Seek an Expert Therapist
    There are many certified prenatal massage therapists around, so make sure to get someone who has experience with pregnant women. These therapists know how to address specific pregnancy needs. Pregnant women have areas of their body that are more sensitive due to the changes of pregnancy, so make sure to tell your massage therapist if in any way you feel uncomfortable.

    At our clinic we have seven therapists that are trained in prenatal massage. Check out our services page or give us a call for more information.

    Warning
    There are pressure points on the ankles and wrists that when massaged improperly can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions in a woman that is at risk. These points should be massaged very lightly. If you have experienced contractions, such as Braxton-Hicks contractions, let your massage therapist know so that she can make sure to apply the correct pressure and avoid touching these pressure points. If you are unsure of whether or not your contractions are normal, contact your doctor before coming for therapy. Also, if you have any medical conditions like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or other, please talk to your health care provider prior to receiving a massage during pregnancy.