Prenatal Massage – Busting the pregnancy blues

A mother’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, initially with morning sickness, disruption to periods and bleeding. As the pregnancy progresses a prospective mother can expect the usual weight gain, tiredness, fatigue and swelling in hands and feet.

Dizziness can also be caused from increases in blood volume, which helps provide the baby with nutrients for growth.  Hormone level changes can create mood swings and muscle tightness.  The body also produces a chemical that relaxes the ligaments of the body to aid in the birth process.  The resultant ligament softening can create lower back pain as well as pains elsewhere around the body as the joints have less support.

As the baby grows it causes the mothers weight to shift forwards which creates a postural challenge leading to the potential for lower back, shoulder and neck pain.  Walking can become affected, as baby grows further leading to potential issues around the legs and feet for mother-to-be.  The growing and altering position of baby later on can lead to some pressure on the sciatic nerve leading to nerve irritation and pain.

Being pregnant can also have a psychological effect on the mother with increased stress sometimes leading to anxiety and depression.  It’s really tough being pregnant.

The good news is there is evidence that massage can help alleviate some of these aches and pains. It may also help manage some of the symptoms of other health concerns that can be associated with pregnancy. 

A specific pregnancy massage, performed by a qualified Massage Therapist, will provide the mother with the upmost comfort, with Mum lying on her side and the baby bump supported by pillows. Massage can be extremely beneficial to mother and baby, alleviating many of the symptoms associated with the changes and health concerns mentioned above.

Improved circulation helps distribute nutrients around the body and across the placenta, whilst improvements to the lymphatic system aids in elimination of the waste products our body produces, as well as helping to reduce the swelling around the ankles.  The lymphatic system has a huge effect on the body’s immune system, so improvements here can aid the body’s response to infection and healing.

Massage stimulates the muscles to feel better, easing areas of tension and tightness.  Improved muscle relaxation can aid with improving posture, function and reduce pressure on nerves leading to reductions in pain.

There can be notable physiological benefits that reduce stress and anxiety and can induce deep relaxation, aid sleep and promoting greater sense of well-being and emotional calm.

Shortness of breath from a tight diaphragm as the baby grows can be reduced with massage easing respiratory discomfort.  Headaches and muscle cramps can also be reduced with regular massages.

By having regular specific pregnancy massage the expectant mother can feel both emotionally and physically supported during this time of change, helping her be more aware of her body and aiding relaxation during labour, which may can result in shorter less painful birth.

Massage during pregnancy can also be beneficial for the baby as the happy well-being hormones we release called endorphins are passed between mother and baby over the placenta.

Sam Crockett
Sports Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer
PhysioFixx Physiotherapy Clinic

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