Throughout the course of a pregnancy, many women experience muscle tension due to increased pressure on joints, poor posture and the shifting weight of the uterus. Pregnancy massage techniques focus on releasing these tight muscles and improving comfort and mobility. It also reduces stress and increases circulation, delivering much-needed oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissues.
In addition to relieving pain and discomfort, regular massages can help ward off the risks of complications associated with the gestation period, including low back pain, sciatica, insomnia and leg swelling (edema). Studies have shown that pregnant women who receive frequent massages have less stress and anxiety, as well as lower rates of depression and anxiety compared to those who don’t receive massages regularly.
When a woman receives a pregnancy massage, she is lying on her side with support from pillows or bolsters for comfort. The side-lying position is recommended by doctors and midwives because it helps ensure placental and fetal circulation. The massage is customized to the individual client’s needs by incorporating different techniques, from gentle to deep tissue work. In the early stages of a pregnancy, massage is generally not performed if there are any concerns about the health of the mother or fetus, such as a placenta problem like previa or accreta (previa occurs in the first trimester and involves a partial or complete occlusion of the placenta) or hypertension/high blood pressure (eclampsia, which occurs after 20 weeks and is characterized by dangerously high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine).
In a 1999 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers observed that women who received regular massage had fewer emotional disturbances than a control group, as well as better sleep quality. This was attributed to the reduction in stress hormones, as well as higher levels of relaxation hormones and oxytocin (the “feel good” molecule). Additionally, researchers observed that babies born to mothers who received regular massage had lower rates of fetal distress and were more attentive after birth. They also had improved performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation and orientation tests. To learn more about prenatal massage visit https://www.atlantachiropractor.net/.