Bodywork during the Childbearing year is not only beneficial throughout the entire nine months of the pregnancy, but also during the postpartum months to follow the birth of your child! Massage during pregnancy can include anything from a full body Swedish massage to light massage or deeper work in specific areas or joint mobilization.
It is best to seek out a therapist who has some advanced training or is certified in pregnancy massage because it is important to know and understand what is and is not safe for the mother and her baby as well as having knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy of a pregnant woman.
Proper positioning of the mother changes as her pregnancy progresses; for example, after a woman is 22 weeks pregnant it is no longer safe for her to lay on her back. There are deep blood vessels that can be restricted due to the weight of the baby, causing decreased circulation for both the mother and her unborn child. Also, there are certain areas on the mother that are best to be avoided during massage.
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
- Reduces swelling in hands, feet and ankles
- Lessens sciatic pain
- Eases muscular discomforts in areas like the low back, neck, and calf cramps
- Helps with relaxation which in turn can decrease insomnia
- Increases blood and lymph flow which can help increase the elimination of toxins through the circulatory and lymphatic systems, this can also help with fatigue.
- Increases oxygen in the blood, sometimes upwards to 10-15% after a massage.
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers
- Helps relieve anxiety or depression
- Can be used during the birth as well as after making both experiences easier and more comfortable
- Eases stress mothers often feel after the birth