PREGNANCY HURTS – BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO!
Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body. As the body goes through its many changes, the muscles can become sore, swelling may occur and joints may ache, not to mention experiencing increased stress levels associated with becoming a parent. While these changes and the associated aches and pains are normal, there are safe and healthy ways to improve the experience for both you and your baby.
BENEFITS OF MASSAGE DURING PREGNANCY
According to the American Pregnancy Association, having regular massages with a properly trained therapist can help reduce anxiety, depression, muscle aches, joint pains and even improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Here’s how.
# 1 - Relaxing during a massage reduces stress hormone levels. Studies have shown that women who received bi-weekly massages for 5-weeks had lower norepinephrine and cortisol hormone levels (those known as stress hormones) while also having increased levels of dopamine and serotonin (low levels are associated with depression). These changes in hormone levels led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. Thus, the evidence strongly suggests there are benefits to having regular, therapeutic massage during pregnancy.
#2 – Many women experience edema (swelling) during pregnancy which is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on major blood vessels. Massage works to stimulate circulation and reduces the collection of fluid while helping the lymph system of the body work more efficiently.
#3 – It’s not uncommon for women to experience nerve pain (particularly sciatic nerve pain) during pregnancy because the uterus actually rests on the muscles of the pelvic floor and the lower back. The added pressure and weight from pregnancy can cause radiating pain from the lower back down into the leg. Massage helps reduce this pain by calming the inflamed nerves and reducing muscle tension around the nerves.
When having massage with Erika at Pura Vida Body & Mind Spa in Fleming Island, she will discuss the table position that will be the most comfortable for you (either using a pregnancy bolster or side positioning).
KNOWING WHETHER YOU’RE A CANDIDATE
You should always discuss pregnancy massage with your prenatal doctor. We also require you to be outside your first trimester. If you have any of the following conditions, you will need to bring a letter from your prenatal doctor clearing you to have a massage.
• You are considered high risk;
• You have high blood pressure;
• Pregnancy-induced hypertension;
• Severe headaches;
• Bleeding during pregnancy;
• Previous pre-term labor; or
• Symptoms of blood clots or varicose veins.
MASSAGE AS PART OF YOUR PRENATAL CARE
Prenatal massage can and should be part of your prenatal care (unless it is contraindicated for you). According to the American Pregnancy Association, the benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health when incorporated into the routine prenatal care. It provides both emotional and physical health and is shown to improve pregnancy outcomes. Always check with your prenatal healthcare provider first, then consult with a massage therapist to lay out a massage routine that is right for you.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.