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For most expecting mothers a prenatal massage also called a pregnancy massage is a new experience. We put this page together to help inform and let clients know what to expect.
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy –massage first trimester , second, or third. However, it is recommended to always consult with your doctor.
Pregnancy - even a very uncomplicated one - brings with it certain changes that can lead to discomfort. The following is a brief description of the most common symptoms during pregnancy and how a massage can make them easier for the mother-to-be.
Pregnancy makes extraordinary demands which the body is naturally prepared, but which nevertheless represent an additional burden. Back pain, muscle tension, headaches, and even water retention can make everyday life quite difficult. The maternal massage offers both the opportunity to support the body in this process of change and to bring about an inner relaxation of mother and child.
Studies show that the mothers-to-be can see the physical and mental fruits of their prenatal massage. It is a doctor-recommended alternative therapy for pregnant women. One reason: Pregnancy affects posture. It compresses the lower back, weakens the upper body, and puts a lot of pressure on the legs and feet.
The muscles of expectant mothers will appreciate a massage if they carry extra weight. The baby's weight can also cause the mother’s legs to be swollen and tense. It can even affect the sciatic nerve. Applying moderate pressure to the muscles reduces swelling by increasing blood flow to the body.
Studies from the University of Miami's Touch Institute suggest that expectant mothers who receive massages have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of the hormones serotonin and dopamine. The researchers are linking these data from hormonal changes to fewer complications in infant births, including 75 percent fewer premature births in depressed women. Besides, the study shows that pregnant women with depression improved their moods and lowered their anxiety after receiving a prenatal massage twice a week.
A special form of massage that combines various techniques to be able to specifically address the needs of pregnant women. Classic massage, lymph drainage, trigger point treatment, certain stretching techniques, and also elements from traditional Chinese medicine are incorporated into the treatment.
Massage for pregnant women differs from a traditional massage in that the pregnant lady will lay on her side. Laying on the back puts a lot of pressure on the stomach and restricts blood flow. To relieve back pain, the prenatal massage therapist can use pillows to support the legs and feet of the expectant mother.
The massage is fully adapted to individual needs. In this way, many of the pregnancy symptoms can be significantly alleviated without any risk to either mother or child.
The loosening of the tissue caused by hormones leads to reduced stability of the spine and the pelvic structure. This often leads to pain in the sacroiliac joint or symphysis. The body tries to compensate for this instability by using more muscles. The result is painful tension. The increasing chest circumference and the pain associated with it result in tension in the shoulder and neck area or tension headache. Targeted massage of the affected regions reduces muscle pain, makes people aware of bad posture, and prevents the symptoms from becoming chronic.
The increased blood volume and the relaxation of the peripheral blood vessels as well as the increased pressure of the uterus on the blood vessels of the pelvis lead to slowed blood circulation, especially in the legs. This can lead to leg edema, varicose veins, and spider veins.
The special positioning during the treatment and the included lymphatic drainage prevent or reduce edema. The massage improves blood and lymph circulation, water retention is reduced and the development of varicose veins can be prevented. A pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome can also be treated with these measures.
Estrogen relaxes the connective tissue, tissue tears are favored. Increased pigmentation is typical, and acne can occur as a result of hormonal changes.
Especially towards the end of pregnancy, the lungs have less space due to the growing uterus. The rib cage expands to the side and leads to tension in the intercostal muscles. The relaxation of these muscles during the massage and certain stretching techniques allow the mother-to-be to breathe easier again!
Other benefits of a pregnancy massage
At the beginning of every initial treatment, the therapist will have a conversation with the mother-to-be in which the therapist will gather all the necessary information about her and her pregnancy to provide the best possible treatment.
The therapist can get an idea of the client’s complaints to be able to adapt the treatment to them. A short "update" follows with every further treatment.
Even before the stomach becomes a problem, the feeling of tension in the breasts bothers and makes them prone to position very uncomfortably. Therefore, the pregnancy massage is almost always performed in the side position.
Stress in Pregnancy
Stress leads to an increase in adrenaline and noradrenaline in the blood. These hormones have a vasoconstricting effect and inhibit the release of important pregnancy hormones such as oxytocin and progesterone.
Oxytocin ensures that cortisol is broken down more quickly and thus for a relaxed mother. It triggers labor during childbirth and causes milk to flow in during breastfeeding. It is also responsible for the mother-child bond. The hormone progesterone relaxes smooth muscles. This counteracts premature or premature birth. It also relaxes the muscles of the pelvic floor, enabling natural delivery.
Effects of stress on the mother
An expectant mother cannot simply leave all stressful activities behind: The work continues, an existing child wants to be cared for. But it has been proven that stress is better tolerated if there is sufficient rest between the stressful times. Create islands of calm and let us be one of them.
Under certain circumstances, a massage is not useful or even contraindicated. These include, for example, bleeding, premature labor, or inflammation. I will clarify this in advance in an interview. If the client has any doubts as to whether a massage is possible and useful for her, it is better to consult her doctor in advance.
Most women contact the massage therapist around the 20th week of pregnancy. Back problems often arise during this time. The further the pregnancy progresses, the more burdensome it becomes for the body.
A pregnancy massage can be enjoyed until the last day of pregnancy.
Prenatal massage is not for everyone. For this reason, it is advisable to consult a doctor before having a massage. The American Pregnancy Associations say that some of the pregnancy-related problems that massages may not be advisable to do are:
Do you enjoy physical touch? Did you find massage useful to relieve aches and pains during pregnancy? Do you crave pampering and healing now that your baby has arrived?
A postpartum massage sometimes called a post natal massage is a full body massage that occurs within the first 12 weeks after you give birth to your baby.
Benefits of massage for the postpartum mom include: