Creating a new life is hard work! Women’s bodies are truly amazing, and your body will go through some pretty incredible changes as your pregnancy progresses. Pregnancy is a natural and beautiful process. However, it often comes with a whole host of uncomfortable physical, mental, and emotional discomforts. Thankfully, there is something you can do to relieve pregnancy symptoms without putting yourself or your baby at risk.
Prenatal massage can be helpful during each stage of pregnancy, including labor, delivery, and during the postpartum period. Not only that, but prenatal massage is also a great way to pamper yourself, relieve stress, and help prepare your muscles for labor and childbirth. Here’s why should implement regular prenatal massages into your pregnancy self-care routine throughout your entire pregnancy.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Studies show that prenatal massage can do so much more than just relieve aches, pains, and stress during pregnancy. Receiving regular prenatal massage can also result in shorter delivery times, a reduction in the need for epidurals and other pain medications, and even fewer cesarean births.
Massage also assists the body in removing excess fluid from the lymphatic system, which is a leading cause of edema and swelling during pregnancy. Blood circulation is also improved, which can help to lower blood pressure, relieve varicose veins, and reduce muscle cramps and spasms. Massage can also help with the elimination and digestive issues that are common during pregnancy.
From your diet and exercise to your state of contentment and relaxation during your pregnancy, everything you do affects your developing baby. According to prenatal massage experts, The Yinova Center, calmness in the mother-to-be throughout the pregnancy is essential to the healthy development of the baby. Massage is known to be an effective way to reduce mental strain, combat fatigue, and relieve anxiety and depression during any stage of life.
Prenatal massage also offers numerous benefits that are specific to each trimester.
- Benefits During the First Trimester
The first trimester creates the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. Your body changes dramatically during this stage, and the shift in your center of gravity creates strain and stress in weaker muscles and joints. Prenatal massages during this time will be focused on correcting postural problems and strengthening the ligaments and muscles for a stronger structural foundation.
Pre-existing issues such as sciatica, pelvic and shoulder pain, and chronic back or neck pain will also be addressed. Tending to these types of problems early on will ensure that your body can support the added weight of carrying a growing baby. And of course, emotional anxiety about the pregnancy and upcoming birth will also be relieved by prenatal massage.
- Benefits During the Second Trimester
By the time you go into your second trimester, your pregnancy is settled. Your prenatal massage therapist will want to focus on supporting your growing uterus, which gains in size from about 4-ounces to approximately 13-pounds during your pregnancy. As you can imagine, the 13 ligaments that support the uterus can easily become stressed and strained as your pregnancy progresses.
Prenatal massage is an effective way to keep these ligaments toned, preventing serious complications like back labor and premature delivery, as well as debilitating issues such as back and pelvic pain. Your massage therapist may also teach you some self-care massage techniques that you can use at home to connect with your baby.
- Benefits During the Third Trimester
During the third trimester, your prenatal massage therapist will begin to focus on preparing our body for labor and delivery. You will experience significant changes, both internally and externally at this stage. The strain on your ligaments will increase due to the added weight of your growing baby. Your hormones will also be telling your body that it’s time to prepare for labor.
Between the weight gain and hormonal surges, muscular aches and pains are a common issue during the third trimester. The added pressure of the rapidly growing uterus on your legs and organs may also bring on swelling in your feet and legs as well as issues with elimination and digestion. Regular prenatal massages at this time can be incredibly beneficial for relieving these symptoms. It will also help your body to relax, enabling you to have an easier labor, birth, and recovery.
- Benefits of Postnatal Massage
Self-care shouldn’t end after your baby is born. Postnatal massage is an excellent way to speed up your recovery after birth. Massaging the abdomen can help to get your bladder and digestive system functioning normally again. Postnatal massage is also an excellent way to reduce the stress, anxiety, and depression that can be quite common at this time. A qualified prenatal massage therapist will know just how to gently and effectively support your body after pregnancy.
How to Choose a Prenatal Massage Therapist
Prenatal massage is considered to be very safe in healthy, low-risk pregnancies, but you should always consult with your OB-GYN for recommendations. It’s important to note that not all massage therapists have experience working with pregnant women, so it’s best to seek out someone who is specially trained and certified in prenatal massage. Since you are going to be seeing a lot of your massage therapist during your pregnancy, you should make sure it’s someone you mesh with and is easy to talk to.
You shouldn’t have to suffer through the aches, pains, fatigue, and stress that come with being pregnant. Prenatal massage is a natural and safe way to relieve all of those discomforts without putting your precious cargo at risk. Besides, being pregnant is hard work, and you deserve to pamper yourself a little bit!