Everything You Need To Know About Massage During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, but a time that brings about many changes. Changes that can be physical, psychological and emotional.
Combined, Rachel and I have had 5 children, so between the two of us, I’m sure we have experienced many of the symptoms associated with pregnancy, and we thought it would be a good idea to explain to you how beneficial massage can be during those long months of waiting!
As our bodies grow to accommodate the baby, the additional weight naturally puts pressure on every part of your body. (Who knew it was possible for so many things to hurt at once?!) The added pressure can become extremely painful for many women and can interfere with their everyday life, especially if they are already caring for other children at home. Many women prefer to find safe, drug-free alternatives for pain relief and massage can offer this.
What can massage help during pregnancy?
1. Lower back pain
2. Upper back pain
3. Headaches
4. Leg cramps
5. Sciatica
6. Stiffness
7. Tension and knots
8. Heartburn
9. Acid reflux
10. Fatigue
11. Varicose veins
12. Edema (swelling)
13. Hip joint pain
14. Constipation
15. Depression and Anxiety
16. Sleep disturbances

What to expect at your massage therapy appointments?
Whilst most massage schools teach some pregnancy massage, it is important that you find a massage therapist who has done additional training/certifications in pregnancy massage, to ensure that you receive the best care possible, tailored to your specific needs.
The most recommended massage for pregnant women is Swedish massage, this type of massage improves lymphatic and blood circulation. (www.americanpregnancy.org)
At your appointment you will generally be placed in a side lying position with pillows to support the weight of your stomach and help you get comfortable. Depending on the stage of your pregnancy, you may also be using special pregnancy pillows to help take pressure off of your growing stomach!
One of the most important things to stress, is not to feel self conscious! Massage therapists treat people of all different sizes all day long and they want you to feel as comfortable as possible so that you can get the most out of your massage. We know how hard it can be to feel comfortable with your changing body, so make sure you find a therapist who you feel at ease with and discuss any concerns you may have before you begin your treatment, especially if you have never received a massage before.

Pregnancy massage and depression:
When thinking about pregnancy we usually picture a glowing, content woman, who is ready and excited to welcome her new baby into the world, but not every pregnancy is like that. Dramatic hormone fluctuations and anxiety over caring for a new life can create symptoms of depression and anxiety and can really interfere with enjoying the pregnancy. Whilst we would encourage any pregnant woman feeling this way to speak to her OB/GYN, we also acknowledge that massage has been shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially in moms-to-be!
The Touch Research Institute carried out studies on how massage can help reduce symptoms of depression. It showed that moms-to-be that had a weekly massage, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and higher levels of the “feel-good” hormones serotonin and dopamine. Another study they carried out showed that pregnant women suffering from depression had a significant improvement in their mood, as well as decreased anxiety, after receiving a 20-minute massage, two times per week. (www.parents.com)

Before we close, it is important to note that, as is the case with any therapy, you should first talk to your OB/GYN or midwife, before committing to any kind of treatment. Whilst massage during pregnancy is generally safe, there are certain conditions that may preclude you from taking advantage of massage therapy sessions. These things can include;
1. Bleeding
2. Pre-term contractions
3. High risk pregnancy
4. Pregnancy induced hypertension
5. Pre-eclampsia
6. Previous pre-term labour
7. Severe swelling
8. High blood pressure
9. Severe headaches
10. Or, if you recently gave birth

We hope you have found this information helpful, and we encourage you to share it with anyone you feel may benefit from receiving massage therapy during their pregnancy. If you have any questions, please feel free to book a FREE, no obligation consultation with Rachel by calling our office at 519.304.5007.
Let us help you enjoy your pregnancy!