It’s good to know that massage can be enjoyed throughout pregnancy, from the pre-conception phase, through each of the three trimesters, to the postnatal period and beyond!
Here are my top 5 reasons for getting a pregnancy massage..
1 Massage may help reduce stress
It is well thought that massage is a great de-stressor. This is because during massage the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is activated. The PNS is responsible for switching on the body’s rest and repair capacity, reducing the presence of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and restoring the body to balance.
Whilst the effect stress hormones have on the unborn baby is not yet fully known, it’s fair to say that you will likely feel the benefits of a body restored to balance, which has to be good for both you and your baby!
2 Massage may help with the physical and emotional changes pregnancy brings
Pregnancy is a time of massive change, both physically and emotionally. Physically, your body shape will be changing to accommodate a growing baby, potentially affecting your posture for example. The influx of pregnancy hormones causes many changes, particularly in relaxing, softening and stretching the body’s ligaments. Often, these physical changes are accompanied by aches and pains, from a mild achy back, to more significant pelvic girdle pain. Other common physical complaints include oedema (the accumulation of fluid under the skin), leg cramps and “rib flare” (pressure on the ribs from a growing abdomen).
Massage can work to address any aches and pains you might be experiencing, and can complement work provided by your health care professionals. It can also offer the opportunity to reflect on the emotional impact such changes are having, in a safe and nurturing environment, and could provide a continuity that may be missing in a medicalised environment.
3 Massage may help you connect with your baby and changing body
All too often, the pressures of modern life can cause us to “live in our heads”! Massage offers a chance to leave everyday stresses behind, enjoy the sensation of touch and in turn, tune in with the wisdom of your body at this important time. An abdominal massage can be an obvious way for you to connect physically with your growing baby, and can be further enhanced with breath work and visualisations.
Partners are welcome too! We can show you a variety of massage techniques, including a wonderful abdominal “gathering” one that a partner or a loved one can do for you.
4 Massage may help you prepare for labour
Pressure points can be stimulated throughout your pregnancy and can help ease symptoms including nausea among others. Towards the end of the third trimester, certain pressure points can be stimulated that help prepare the body for labour. These points might also be useful to be worked if your “due date” has passed and you wish to avoid being induced. Birthing positions can be discussed and again, partners are always welcome! The Bath Massage Company also offers “hypnobirthing” which helps couple prepare for the birth of their baby.
5 Massage may help you postnatally
A postnatal massage can be restorative, providing an ideal opportunity to rest and recover from the physical act of giving birth, as well as providing a much-needed space in which to reflect on this exciting new change. Whilst many of the aches and pains experienced in pregnancy are reduced, others may become prevalent, for example, a tight neck and shoulders from feeding and cradling your new born, and carrying them in a sling or pushing them in a pram. Massage can help address any aches and pains.
As already mentioned, massage can be a great stress reliever and can help with the continuing hormonal and emotional changes experienced during the postnatal period – and you are always welcome to bring your baby with you to your massage appointments with us.
And finally, massage and skin to skin contact with your baby can assist with the bonding process. The Bath Massage Company offers a wonderful Baby Massage Course where you can bring your baby along and learn how to massage them which, as well as being soothing for your baby, can help reduce the symptoms of colic, for example. It also offers the ideal opportunity to meet other mums and relax over a well-earned cuppa!
Jo Greenwood specialises in Pregnancy massage as well as other massage treatments at The Bath Massage Company. To make a booking with her visit our Book page.