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How Prenatal Massage Can Help You and Your Baby

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During pregnancy, expectant mothers go through many psychological, physical, and hormonal changes. Therapeutic massage can provide significant relief for these stressful changes, as well as improve the overall function of both the circulatory and endocrine systems.

In fact, several research studies have found that prenatal massage can help alleviate many common symptoms associated with pregnancy, which results in safer pregnancies for both mother and child. Additional reports have found that women who receive regular prenatal massage tend to have reduced pain perception during labor. Often times, labor durations are shorter, babies are healthier (as measured by the Apgar and Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment), and the risk of premature birth decreases dramatically. And if that’s not enough, women who get regular massages during pregnancy show a greater propensity to touch their newborns lovingly, which is most likely due to a reduced risk of postpartum depression.

So how does something so basic do so much?

Improved Circulation

Massage helps to stimulate blood flow and encourage lymph to move around the body, thus helping to remove toxins and reduce swelling. On the metabolic level, the improved circulation helps the blood to transport oxygen and nutrients to cells and remove metabolic waste. So massage helps to make sure your system is running optimally to assure the best possible support for your baby’s circulation, nutrition, and development.

Hormone Regulation

Recent studies have shown that hormones associated with stress and relaxation are significantly altered by prenatal massage. Regular massage increases serotonin, the stress-relieving “feel good” neurotransmitter, increases norepinephrine, and decreases cortisol, the stress-response hormone. All of these hormonal optimizations are favorable for your baby’s development.

Reduction of Swelling

The circulatory system works twice as hard as it normally does during pregnancy, so edema and leg cramps are common during the later stages. In addition to improving circulation, massage helps to reduce swelling by stimulating soft tissues, to reduce the collection of fluids in swollen joints.

Improvement of Nerve Pain

Another common complication of late pregnancy is sciatica nerve pain, due to increased pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. Massage therapy helps to release the tension in these muscles, and is often able to significantly reduce sciatica nerve pain.

Anemia During Pregnancy

Iron deficiency is common in expectant mothers, due to the increased demands placed on your body. By helping to increase blood and lymph circulation, massage is shown to increase red blood cell count and help to alleviate the fatigue associated with pregnancy anemia.

Precautions for Prenatal Massage?

As always, it’s best to check with your prenatal care provider before beginning any new therapeutic practice, particularly if you have a high-risk pregnancy or are in your first trimester.

Will all these benefits to offer, massage is clearly a worthwhile option to add to your prenatal health regimen, both for you and your baby. Regular massage can significantly reduce pregnancy complications, lead to shorter and less painful labor, and improve the health of your baby. So what are you waiting for?

At Reflexion Spa, we are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have, or to set up an appointment.