Modern women lead stressful and demanding lives and it is not unusual for them to start a pregnancy in poor physical and mental condition. During pregnancy your body is required to deal with huge physical transformation that can cause such debilitating symptoms as back pain, fatigue, cramps, water retention, rashes, breakouts and discolouration of the skin to name just a few. Weight gain increases the curvature of the lumbar spine and stress on the bones and joints and Relaxin, a hormone that makes the ligaments more stretchable causes the joints to become less stable. This is quite a catalogue of uncomfortable and stressful changes and as a result it is no wonder we often hear pregnant women worrying if they will ever look normal again, complaining of being out of breath or that their back or legs are killing them.
As drug therapy becomes less fashionable and care with the use of painkillers in pregnancy is paramount, many women are discovering the benefits of pregnancy massage. Pregnancy can be a time of stress. You are constantly worrying about the act of giving birth, your body, your child’s health, being a parent, etc. Women are always being encouraged to relax and rest during pregnancy, but they are not always told how to do this. A soothing, healing massage is far better than sitting in front of the television with a box of chocolates. Most experts agree that relaxation has positive results for both mother and baby and increases the chance of a positive birth experience. For labour preparation, prenatal specialists recommend women practice deep sustained levels of relaxation for 45-60 minutes without falling asleep, especially in the last 6-8 weeks of pregnancy – the exact length of most massage sessions.
At some point in your pregnancy, you will experience a large amount of muscular cramping, tightening, stiffness, tension and knots. A massage will alleviate these discomforts and will help with backaches, headaches or swollen feet or legs by increasing the blood circulation. The hormone progesterone helps the body soften and accommodate the growing baby and also softens blood vessels which are carrying twice as much blood as normal, putting stress on large organs of the body and lower limbs. Demand on the lymphatic system increases and detoxification is difficult, so the stimulating act of massage helps to cleanse the body. This is beneficial not only to the mother but to the baby, as well as leaving you refreshed and more energized. Massage will also help with muscle flexibility, which is crucial when giving birth and will also prove to be beneficial during the last trimester.
In my experience of massaging pregnant clients, and as a mother myself, the overwhelming response to treatment is always one of positive joy. Once lying in a comfortable position, (during the massage you will be supported in a side-lying position and draped with towels for your comfort) your breathing will slow down and a deeply relaxed state is induced. This increases natural pain relief in the form of endorphins and reduces stress to the baby.Many emotional changes take place during pregnancy and massage can help with grounding and restoring balance to the mind-body-spirit system. No matter how far along you are, a massage during pregnancy is sure to keep you and your baby healthy and happy.