Being pregnant gives you a whole new body, a whole new responsibility and a whole new attitude. A prenatal massage may be just right to help you relax, feel better and enjoy this very special time in your life. Here are 5 benefits of prenatal massage.
1. Reduce Stress. You are expecting, but your busy life probably didn’t change. Massage therapy is an opportunity to relax. Massage has been shown to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure and to relax your muscles. It also increases your endorphins – those feel good hormones! A massage therapy session gives you “you time” – a chance to relax and look forward to the birth of your baby.
2. Regulates Hormones. Pregnancy and hormones go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that massage reduces the stressful hormones like norepinephrine and cortisol and increases dopamine and serotonin levels. It was shown that by reducing the negative hormones and increasing the good hormones, there were fewer birth complications and fewer newborn complications such as low birth weight. Massage appears to benefit both mom and baby. One study showed a 75% reduction in premature births in depressed women.
3. Reduce Swelling. Reduced circulation and increased pressure on major blood vessels from the growing baby can cause swelling – or edema – of the joints. Massage stimulates the soft tissues to help reduce the fluids that have collected in swollen joints. It also improves the efficiency of the lymph system to help remove waste in tissues.
4. Reduce Pain. Nerve pain – especially sciatic pain – plagues many pregnant women as the heavy uterus rests on the muscles in the lower back and pelvic floor. This pressure can create tension in the muscles of the upper legs and puts pressure on the nearby nerves. Women know that pregnancy is wonderful – but it can be uncomfortable. Massage reduces the tension of the muscles to sooth the inflamed nerves and provide the mother with decreased back and joint pain.
5. Improved Sleep. The overall benefits of prenatal massage pay a bonus to expectant Moms. With less pain and less stress, pregnant women may be able to get a better night’s rest – something many pregnant women are hoping to find!
Most prenatal massage is given with the woman on her side. It is wise to double check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any contradictions to keep you from enjoying the benefits of prenatal massage. When you’re ready, call your local massage therapy spa and ask for a massage therapist who is expert in prenatal massage. Then, relax and enjoy all the benefits!