9 great reasons to indulge in a relaxing and therapeutic prenatal massage.
Getting a prenatal massage can be extremely beneficial to your physiological, psychological and emotional health throughout pregnancy. But it's important to work with a practitioner whom you feel comfortable with, trust, and someone who is well-trained in giving a prenatal massage.
I recommend receiving consistent massages throughout your pregnancy. Try scheduling a massage once every two weeks up to your third trimester and every week afterwards.
1. Enhances circulation of blood
Massage enhances circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients both to mother and baby. Increased immunity also occurs through stimulation of the lymphatic system, which also helps to remove toxins.
2. Calms nervous system
Through promotion of the parasympathetic system, both mother and baby are in a relaxation response through release of endorphins.
When we are in parasympathetic mode, we are able to sleep better, our digestion is enhanced, we no longer have stress hormones released, thus our immune system is at its optimum. A peaceful and calm mama is a peaceful and calm baby.
3. Alleviation of stress on our weight-bearing joints & musculo-fascial structures
As baby gets bigger and bigger, more stress is placed upon our hip, entire back, chest, shoulders, legs, feet and neck everyday. Upon studying Ayurvedic massage in India, my instructor called massage, "Lazy man's [or in this case, woman's] yoga."
4. Stabilization of hormones
There is an increase in hormones during pregnancy, which also causes our moods to fluctuate. Massage can stabilize our hormones and help with depression and anxiety.
5. Decreases blood pressure for both mother and baby
Stress has a direct correlation upon heart rate and blood pressure. Through massage, the skin and surrounding structures are made more pliable, thus reducing blood pressure.
6. Increased blood flow to uterus, placenta and heart
During pregnancy, our blood volume may increase to up to 60% in comparison to before pregnancy. As we progress further, our uterus enlarges, presses deep inside our pelvis, and thus return of blood flow may be inhibited.
7. Enhancement of proper posture & alignment
As baby grows within our bodies, our posture and alignment may be compromised. The extra weight contributes to extra tension and sometimes muscle spasms. Through massage our muscle tone and flexibility is increased. Making us more capable of carrying the load of pregnancy upon our joints and muscles.
8. Alleviation of common pregnancy physical complaints/ailments
Some of the common complaints from head to toe may include headaches, sinusitis, numbness and/or tingling of hand or fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, shortness of breath, edema/swelling of lower extremity, sciatica, constipation, indigestion, heartburn, muscular discomfort and/or pain in hips, back, chest, shoulders and legs, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, itchy skin, and pregnancy rash.
9. Time of self-nurturing
Carrying and growing a baby requires a lot of energy. Take time to receive emotional and physical support by nonsexual, nurturing, and therapeutic touch. Giving back to yourself is equally as important.