Massage during pregnancy has massive benefits for both mother and baby and whilst it may seem a bit tongue-in-cheek, partners stand to benefit from pregnancy massage too.
It is important to note that pregnancy massage is not about indulgence. It really is about taking good care of a body that is undergoing huge shifts and changes in order to support and accommodate a growing baby. When we think about it, it really is an extraordinary process that takes place without mum even having to focus on it. As she goes about her day-to-day life, doing all the things she would normally do, like driving the car, going to work and sleeping, for example, she is also at the same time growing an entire little person. And all of this happens in a relatively short period of time.
The side effect of all these changes, can result in aches, pains and discomfort throughout the entire body. Remedial-focused pregnancy massage looks to assist in relieving muscular pain and discomfort, including common complaints like lower back and pelvic pain, and neck and shoulder pain.
Massage also has a positive effect on stress and mood. And this is where partners will often report noticing a positive change in mum after she returns from her massage, and in the period that follows.
Let’s have a closer look at six much valued benefits of pregnancy massage:
- Improved Quality of Sleep – Massage increases the production of serotonin and melatonin which regulate our sleep rhythms, thus producing positive effects on sleep quality.
- Reduced Stress & Anxiety – Massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and at the same time it increases the feel-good hormones that improve mood, immunity, vitality and also decrease pain levels.
- Reduced Swelling – Swelling of the feet, and to a lesser extent the hands, is quite common during pregnancy. Massage encourages the movement and redistribution of fluid that has pooled in the extremities, in turn reducing associated tightness and pain.
- Lower Stress Hormones in Baby – Research shows that mothers suffering with depression that received massage throughout their pregnancy had babies with cortisol levels lower than those that didn’t receive massage throughout their pregnancy.
- Relief of Muscular Pain and Cramping – Massage relieves muscular tension & reduces motor neuron activity which can help calm leg cramps, for example. Massage also assists with neck & shoulder pain, tension headaches, lower back pain or discomfort.
- Decreased Likelihood of Premature Birth – Mums that received massage regularly were less likely to have a premature birth than those that did not receive massage at all.
Pregnancy massage is a specialised area of massage therapy, and when delivered by a specifically trained and experienced therapist can be enjoyed throughout all stages of pregnancy; including the first trimester.
This blog has been written by Catherine Dore
Catherine and her specialist team at Catherine Dore Perinatal & Infant Massage at Toowong, have supported Brisbane’s professional women in their journey from pregnancy to motherhood for the past 8 years. They offer specialised remedial pregnancy and postnatal massage, and they also help parents to enhance their bond and connection with their baby through an evidence-based infant massage program.