Massage in pregnancy
Pregnancy can take a toll on your body so why not treat your weary limbs to a massage. We explore the positive benefits that massage has during this special time.
Massage is usually seen as a luxury, not as an every-day type of self-care, but Jo Hogan of pregnancy wellness centre Bella Mama, says it is just another aspect to looking after yourself - like exercise and eating good food. Massage is a perfect treatment whilst pregnant, and given that you go to a specially trained practitioner, incredibly safe for both mum and baby. In fact, in a number of countries, it is traditional to massage women throughout their entire pregnancy, and postnatal period.
On a physical level your body is going through an incredible amount of change. This is especially so when moving into the third trimester and the posture of your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. “This can bring up some discomfort and difficulties”, Jo explains, “and on a muscular skeletal level massage can ease the resulting aches and pains”. The benefits aren’t just restricted to the physical, as massage can greatly benefit women by giving them that much needed ‘time-out’ from their busy lives, and the experience of deep relaxation. “We know that babies are directly affected by the mothers stress levels”, says Jo, and research has shown that deep relaxation “is both incredibly beneficial for the mother and the baby”. Stress whilst pregnant can have many unwanted outcomes such as “high blood pressure, premature birth and a longer and more difficult labour” says Jo, but women who are relaxed and comfortable throughout their pregnancy have a much lower chance of these things happening. Conversely it is important to not stress about being stressed, says Jo, “our bodies can cope with an enormous amount of busyness, as long as we balance it with deep relaxation”.
During the latter stages of pregnancy, massage can be beneficial in helping the body prepare for birth. “The touching and stroking of massage helps to increase the oxytocin levels in the body, which is the hormone of birthing and breastfeeding.” Jo also explains “there is a direct link between oxytocin, and the stress hormones” which emphasizes the need for pregnant mothers to take some time for themselves. Touch and massage, can therefore be really helpful tools to use in the birthing room.
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