During your pregnancy, your body changes in a number of ways. There can sometimes be discomfort as your baby grows. Prenatal (or pregnancy) massage can be a gentle way to help relieve some of the aches and pains that come with changes to your body—and it can offer other benefits, too!
At BodaHealth, our massage therapists understand that prenatal massage is a little different than other types of massage. Prenatal massage is always tailored to your specific health concerns and stage of pregnancy. You may be positioned on your side or semi-reclining (semi-fowler’s), rather than lying face down. Pillows, pads, and bolsters are used to help support your body in a safe and comfortable position. In most cases, prenatal massage involves Swedish-style techniques, using long and gliding strokes, with an appropriate amount of pressure.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
- Pain relief may be the most common reason women seek out prenatal massage. As your pregnancy progresses, changes in posture and center of gravity can cause painful stress on the muscles and joints of your lower back and pelvis, and also on your neck and shoulders. Prenatal massage therapy can be a gentle and effective way to relieve this pain.
- Sciatic nerve pain relief. As your baby grows, there can be pressure on your sciatic nerve, which refers from your lower back down one or both legs. Prenatal massage can help relieve some of the tension on the nearby muscles, which in turn can help relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve.
- Decreased swelling. Fluid buildup in your legs, ankles, and feet is common during pregnancy. That’s because your growing uterus creates pressure on the blood vessels in your legs. Massage can help facilitate circulation and reduce swelling.
- Decrease stress and anxiety. For some women, pregnancy can be an emotional roller coaster. Prenatal massage helps to calm the body and relax the nervous system. Researchers have found that women who had massage during pregnancy had decreased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are considered to be feel-good hormones.
- Sleep better. Getting a good night’s sleep can be a problem during any stage of your pregnancy. Since prenatal massage helps relieve physical discomfort and reduce stress and anxiety, the quality of your sleep might improve too.
Research supports how beneficial prenatal massage can be. Studies have documented that prenatal massage helps to reduce stress and anxiety and alleviate leg and back pain. In addition, researchers have found that women who had massages during their pregnancy were less likely to deliver prematurely, had less painful labor and deliveries, and needed less medications.
Safety of Prenatal Massage
At BodaHealth, we’re all about safety! Our massage therapists are well-trained and experienced in working with women in all stages of their pregnancy. They understand how to best position your body, which areas to avoid during your particular stage of pregnancy, and which massage techniques are appropriate to use. However, if you have specific health concerns, it’s a good idea to check with your primary health care provider before having a prenatal massage.
The bottom line is that prenatal massage can offer a number of health benefits during your pregnancy. It can be an important part of your routine prenatal care to promote good physical and emotional health. If you’d like to know more about prenatal massage at BodaHealth, contact us today.