Pregnancy is an amazing and exciting time for many women. The amazing fact that we can grow a human never ceases to be incredible even though it is one of the most natural things in the world. Experiencing this incredible ability and anticipating the joy of the new life and family member who is on their way is a beautiful thing and is worth celebrating every moment
At times however, this awesome experience may bring with it some bodily discomforts and may make it hard to feel as celebratory every moment. Discomforts come in different forms and at different times for different women and may not come at all for some. However, the general consensus seems to be that most women experience some discomforts associated with their pregnancy at some point in the journey. Massage therapy may be one of the methods employed to assist with these discomforts as well as provide an enjoyable and relaxing experience regardless of the presence of discomfort.
There are many benefits to prenatal massage. Prenatal Massage therapy can reduce the muscular and joint related pains associated with pregnancy by reducing tension in muscles and the subsequent strain on joints, nerves, ligaments and tendons. Some of the common pregnancy related discomforts attributed to musculoskeletal tension which massage therapy can help with include:
- Back pain
- Leg cramps
- Overall tension
- Joint pain
As well due to changes in posture and the weight of the growing uterus on the mother’s pelvic cavity, venous flow may be hindered. During pregnancy an expecting mother’s blood volume may increase by as much as 60% in order to accommodate the needs of the growing baby. Efficient circulation and venous flow are essential to deliver this blood and the oxygen and nutrients it contains to the mother and baby. Massage therapy increases circulation and venous return, which assists in returning blood to the heart as well as delivering oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the uterus and placenta.
Along with increased lymphatic drainage this increase in circulation can also decrease the swelling or edema associated with pregnancy.
Prenatal Massage therapy can also reduce overall tension, stress and anxiety by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and releasing endorphins into the body. This is particularly useful during this time as feeling relaxed and calm will help reduce many of the physical discomforts associated with pregnancy as well as promote better quality of sleep, provide a peaceful environment for the baby to develop and aid in labour.
Massage therapy with a properly trained therapist can be used at any stage of pregnancy. Different considerations are applicable during the three trimesters and extreme deep tissue massage will be avoided at all stages. As well any complications in your pregnancy must be conveyed to your therapist. If there are complications including high blood pressure, or your pregnancy is high risk, massage therapy should be discussed with your doctor prior to treatment. However with these considerations in mind massage therapy with a trained therapist is safe for all stages of pregnancy including the first trimester and the day of delivery. BC RMT’s are highly trained in pregnancy massage, as are our RMT’s at Form Body Lab, and you can feel sure that all considerations will be known and taken when receiving a pregnancy massage with a BC RMT.
As well pregnancy pillows are available which allow an expecting mother to lie face down comfortably and safely during her massage. Most find this alone an exquisite treat, as their growing belly may not allow them to lie face down otherwise. These pillows also allow your therapist to effectively target key areas such as in between your shoulder blades, your low back and your gluteal muscles.
Massage therapy can be very beneficial for mothers and fathers after the baby is born as well. The strain on a new mother’s neck and shoulders from the weight of carrying the baby and the postures associated with breast-feeding can create tension in new muscles. As well the reduction of stress, overall tension and anxiety massage therapy promotes may be useful at this time as new mothers and fathers adjust to the changes their new family member brings.
Currently Form Body Lab is offering a discount to all expecting mother’s of 15% off your first Pregnancy Massage (or when you refer a friend!) for the month of October!
Written By: Molly Scott, RMT