Let’s be honest, pregnancy is a challenging time for any woman. Every day over the course of nine months your body is evolving – anatomically and physiologically. From the second of conception right through to your baby’s birth, you are experiencing nothing short of a series of natural miracles. Despite this the reality is that pregnancy can feel uncomfortable and, at times, very painful, which is one of the reasons why many women turn to massage throughout their nine month journey.
The benefits of massage when pregnant
Study after study shows that massage during pregnancy can:
- Reduce anxiety
- Improve lymphatic and blood circulation
- Regulate hormones (and consequently improve mood and cardiovascular health)
- Reduce stress and decrease the chance or impact of depression
- Lower the stress hormones norepinephrine and cortisol
- Reduce swelling
- Improve nerve pain
- Reduce joint pain
- Bring about better sleep
- Reduce muscle tension and headaches
- Boost oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
Your body, pregnancy and massage
From 0-3 months
During the early stages of pregnancy the main symptoms you may feel are tiredness and sickness. By the time you’re 7-8 weeks pregnant your womb will be about the size of a lemon. By 12 weeks the foetus is fully formed and you may find yourself feeling increasingly emotional.
If you are in these early stages of pregnancy make sure you tell your massage therapist before you make a booking to have a massage.
From 4 to 6 months
Your lower rib cage will be feeling pressure as your uterus expands upwards toward the stomach. This process means that the ribs will expand, often causing discomfort in the process. There are massage techniques that can address this – specifically treating the joints and tissues that are undergoing huge changes.
From 7 to 9 months
Over the course of your last trimester your body will be undergoing changes due to the release of oxytocin and relaxin (two essential hormones that prepare your body for labour). This process helps the pelvis to become more flexible and for the surrounding ligaments to follow suit. As a side effect of this other areas of the body may also relax, such as ligaments in the feet – resulting in swelling, discomfort and the potential development of varicose veins. A pregnancy massage during this stage can release trapped fluid, sooth aching legs and help with healthy circulation.
Pregnancy and massage: Commonly asked questions
Should I stop receiving massage as my due date draws close?
There’s absolutely no reason to stop your massage sessions no matter how close to your due date you are. In fact, the benefits we’ve outlined here apply at any time.
Are heat treatments safe?
Heat treatments should be avoided when pregnant as they can overheat your baby. These treatments are often provided alongside massage services at a spa/beauty salon. These include:
- Steam rooms
- Tanning beds
- Hot springs
- Whirlpools, hot tubs and spa baths
How frequently should I receive a pregnancy massage?
There’s no correct answer here – every person is different. It depends if you are suffering from back pain, leg pain, hip discomfort or trouble sleeping; in any of these cases we recommend increasing how often you have a massage. Your massage therapist will be able to advise you on massage frequency after speaking with you.
Let’s face it, a massage feels good whether you’re pregnant or not, but if you are, and would like to make an appointment call us on 020 8316 5316.