The benefits of prenatal massage can improve overall health for women throughout their pregnancy and even after. Combined with the guidance a licensed midwife or obstetrician, massage therapy can be a beneficial for prenatal care to improve emotional and physical health.
Is prenatal massage safe?
Women can begin massage therapy any time during their pregnancy whether it is the first, second, or third trimester.
As with any therapeutic approach, women should discuss massage therapy with their prenatal care provider. Let your therapist know if there are any concerns related to your pregnancy in order to provide the safest and most effective massage.
What are the benefits of prenatal massage?
Researchers have done numerous studies about massage therapy during pregnancy and the effect it has on the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts. The results show prenatal massage therapy can help reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor as well as the health of the newborn. Pregnancy comes with a lot of discomforts and massage can address many of them.
Research shows prenatal massage therapy can help reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.
Prenatal massage addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts. Massage has also show to:
Reduce muscle tension and headaches
Reduce stress and anxiety
Help soft tissue and muscle oxygenation
Improve better sleep
Reduction of swelling
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels due to the weight of the enlarging uterus. Prenatal massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints. This becomes particularly evident in the third trimester.
Improvement of nerve pain
Sciatic nerve pain is very common in women typically late in pregnancy caused by the uterus resting on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. Tension is created by the uterus applying pressure to the muscles of the upper and lower leg. This causes them to swell apply pressure on nearby nerves.
Massage therapy helps by releasing the tension on nearby muscles and inflamed nerves. Other potential benefits of prenatal massage can be:
When to seek care by a medical professional
Women who have recently experienced bleeding, pre-term contractions, or have any of the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:
Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
Recently gave birth