Your body works hard when you’re pregnant and creating a new life from scratch isn’t easy. Women’s bodies are incredible and a pregnant woman’s body goes through some pretty amazing changes as the pregnancy progresses.
However, just because pregnancy is a beautiful and natural process, that doesn’t mean it’s always a comfortable one. In fact, pregnancy often brings an assortment of physical, emotional, and mental discomforts. Thankfully, prenatal massage can make all the difference in your pregnancy without putting you or your baby at risk.
Prenatal massage can provide specific benefits during every trimester, as well as during labor, delivery, and even after your baby is born. And, since your body is working so hard, you deserve a little pampering to relieve stress and help your body prepare for labor and the birth of your child.
Here’s a detailed look at why every woman should consider making prenatal massage a regular part of her self-care routine throughout her pregnancy.
How Prenatal Massage Can Make A Difference in Your Pregnancy
We all know that massage can relieve stress and pain, but studies show that it can do so much more for a woman while she’s pregnant. Among the greatest benefits are shorter delivery times, a reduced need for pain medications and epidurals, and even a reduction in cesarean births.
Massage is also fantastic for removing excess fluid from the lymph system, which often causes uncomfortable swelling and edema in pregnancy. Blood circulation is also enhanced by massage, and that could lead to fewer muscle spasms and cramps, lower blood pressure, and relief for varicose veins. Prenatal massage is also very beneficial for the digestive and elimination issues that can occur during pregnancy.
Everything you do during your pregnancy, from what you eat and how much exercise you get to your stress level and state of contentment, can have an effect on your developing baby. In fact, experts at a leading clinic for prenatal massage in NYC say that calmness in the expectant mother throughout all stages of pregnancy is essential for the baby’s healthy development.
Massage is highly recommended for reducing mental strain, relieving fatigue, and decreasing depression and anxiety at any stage of life, not just during pregnancy. In addition to these benefits, prenatal massage can offer additional benefits during each stage of pregnancy.
The foundation of your pregnancy is established during the first trimester. The changes in your body occur rapidly during this stage, and your center of gravity shifts, which puts strain and stress on the weaker muscles and joints in your hips, knees, pelvis, and back. At this stage, prenatal massage can help to correct posture issues and strengthen muscles and ligaments to prevent issues later.
If there are pre-existing problems such as sciatica or neck, back, shoulder, pelvic, or hip pain, they can also be addressed now to prevent further discomfort as the pregnancy progresses. And of course, prenatal massage can bring relief for the potential emotional anxiety that often comes with pregnancy and childbirth.
As you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, things become more settled. The focus of prenatal massage at this stage will be on supporting the rapidly growing uterus, which grows in size from about four ounces to around thirteen pounds in most pregnancies.
With this rapid growth, the ligaments that support the uterus are under significant strain and stress. Prenatal massage is one of the best ways to tone and relax those ligaments, which can reduce the occurrence of serious pregnancy complications like preterm labor and back labor, as well as reduce pelvic and back pain.
A trained prenatal massage therapist can even teach the mom-to-be some self-care massage techniques to use at home during the months leading up to delivery and during labor.
As you enter the third trimester, your prenatal massage therapist will shift her focus towards preparing your body for labor and delivery. During this time, the changes in your body are quite dramatic, both internally and externally. There will be even more strain and stress on the ligaments that support your uterus, due to the increasing size of your baby.
In the third trimester, your body also releases a flood of new hormones in preparation for labor. With all of this rapid weight gain and hormonal fluctuation, muscular aches and pains are a common problem for pregnant women in their third trimester. Swelling in the hands and feet and elimination issues may become a problem at this stage as well, thanks to pressure on your legs and organs from your rapidly growing uterus.
Regular prenatal massage can be immensely helpful for these common third-trimester symptoms. It will also relax your muscles and ligaments, which could make labor, delivery, birth, and recovery easier.
How to Choose the Right Prenatal Massage Therapist
As long as you see a properly licensed and qualified practitioner, prenatal massage is considered to be safe during all stages of pregnancy. However, you should speak with your OB-GYN first, especially if your pregnancy is considered high risk. Not all massage therapists are qualified to work with pregnant women, so be sure to seek out someone that’s trained and certified in prenatal massage.
There’s no reason to suffer through the anxiety, fatigue, and aches and pains of pregnancy. Prenatal massage can make all the difference in how you feel, without putting your growing little one at risk. And remember, you’re working hard to grow that baby, so you deserve to take a break and pamper yourself a little bit!
About the author
Donna Maurer is a Content Creator living in New York City. Donna has written on a variety of topics for publications such as Marriage.com The Hearty Soul and many others. Check out her work at her website or on LinkedIn.