Prenatal massage can be an essential part of well-being and pain management during your entire pregnancy. There are many physiological and emotional changes that occur beginning in the first few weeks of pregnancy and continuing into the postpartum period after childbirth.
As your pregnancy progresses and you begin to gain weight, there are several changes that your body makes and responds to:
• Your body’s centre of gravity shifts forward.This causes a natural tendency to make an adjustment in posture affecting daily activities, including walking and sitting, leading to back pain and discomfort.
• The ligaments and tendons supporting the pelvis and lower back soften and stretch in pregnancy due to hormonal changes.The stress on these structures often leads to muscle spasms and tightness in the hips to provide extra support and stability.
• Sore and overworked muscles can lead to incorrect movement or lifting to perform regular daily activities.Minor injuries in the neck, shoulders or back can develop.
• The calf muscles often tighten up to provide extra stabilization for changes to posture and weight.This can lead to leg cramps, most commonly occurring at night.
Massage therapy offers many benefits to relieve many of these symptoms and more:
• Promotes a healthy pregnancy by creating a relaxing and positive environment for stress relief
• Provides relief from aches and pains, muscles spams and cramps
• Promotes better posture
• Increases circulation of blood and lymph
• Assists in decreasing fluid retention, commonly in the ankles and feet
• Promotes better sleep by reducing physical and emotional stress
What is different about a prenatal massage?
As part of your medical history intake, your RMT will ask questions about your health during pregnancy to ensure any treatment modifications are made. Your treatment will then be tailored to your current needs, and will likely change throughout your pregnancy as your body changes. Leslie’s treatment table is designed specifically for prenatal massage with a removable belly insert. Extra pillows are always used to provide the necessary support for your growing belly and to eliminate any strain on the front of the hips and pelvis. Treatment can also be performed sidelying in any necessary situations. Any questions or concerns specific to treatment during pregnancy are always welcome and should be addressed immediately.
On a personal note, I can honestly say that receiving regular prenatal massage helped minimize my pain and discomfort during my pregnancy. I was able to sleep better, move with more ease, and work until I was 38 weeks pregnant. Now that I have returned to work, I would to spread the awareness of prenatal massage and provide that same relief to others. I leave you with this question: what better time is there to take care of and nurture your body than during pregnancy? You are already watching what you eat, drink, and do to care for your growing baby, so while your body is doing everything it can, make sure you give it the care it deserves too.
Leslie Brown, RMT