The Benefits of Prenatal Massage Therapy

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but we can’t ignore the difficult parts that come along with it. Along with the dewy glow of your skin and excitement over a new baby, often comes aches, pains, and strains on your body. Growing a baby is tough work, so it’s important to take care of your body and show it extra love while you’re expecting. As mothers and mothers-to-be, we can forget that we need support and care along with our little ones. So when you’re expecting, your to-do list should include at least one massage to pamper and relieve some of the discomfort that comes along with pregnancy.

As your body changes, so does the tension. With a growing baby and increasingly heavy uterus, there is tremendous new strain on many parts of your body, especially areas that felt fine pre-pregnancy. By releasing the tension on various body parts during a massage, a good therapist can help relieve hardships like sciatic nerve pain, headaches, lower-back pain, leg cramps, heartburn and acid reflux, stiffness, and even constipation. Although you may be feeling discomfort in various and specific areas, massage therapy is a way to holistically address your pains and soothe many parts of your body.

Believe it or not, massage can reduce the troublesome swelling that comes with pregnancy. During pregnancy, your joints tend to swell, which is a condition called edema. It’s caused by reduced circulation and escalating pressure on major blood vessels. When you get a massage, your soft tissue is stimulated and there is a reduction of fluids accumulated in the joints, which brings you back to pre-pregnancy status-quo.

Massage therapy gets your blood flowing and encourages lymph circulation, which has many positive effects on your changing body. When your blood circulation is increased, both you and your baby are provided with more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flow. Also, the movement of lymphatic fluid in increased, which is what cleans away toxins and other metabolic waste. Encouraging blood flow throughout your body, especially to the areas experiencing the most pain, can relieve muscle tension. These effects can be felt after one massage, but are even improved after regular appointments.

Massage is relaxing, and you deserve to lower your stress when you’re expecting. Even during the “easiest” pregnancies, there is a lot to think through and possibly worry over. First-time mothers especially can be concerned about anything from baby gear to labor to sleep schedules. Fully relaxing your body and mind during a massage isn’t just a nice perk, it’s actually very helpful to promoting overall calm and wellness. With regular massage, your stress hormones ebb while dopamine and serotonin levels increase, which can stabilize the nervous system and set the stage for a more balanced labor.

Choosing the right massage therapist will put you even more at ease. When searching for massage therapists in your area, start searching for a therapist who specializes and is certified in prenatal massage. Maybe you already see a massage therapist who is knowledgeable in prenatal needs, but if you’re starting from scratch, look for the specialists. Read their websites and get a sense of their philosophy and mission. Do they go into detail about why they practice prenatal massage? Do they seem to have a grasp on what a body goes through while pregnant? If you feel calmer just by reading their website, it’s probably a good match. Don’t be afraid to call the massage therapist and ask questions to get a good sense of what the appointment will entail. You might ask about the oils and scents used during massage, the position you and your belly will be in on the table, and which body parts they tend to focus on. And of course, talk with your doctor before you schedule an appointment to be sure massage therapy is right for your pregnancy.