During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences many physical and hormonal changes to accommodate for the gestation and delivery of a baby. Physical changes include an enlarging abdomen, breasts and weight gain. Strain is increased on the lower back, hips and lower extremities because of the increasing weight. A pregnancy massage may assist in relieving tension in these areas. Hormones also cause softening of ligaments and other connective tissues in preparation for delivery and can play a part in the emotional swings that some expectant mothers experience.
Although a joyous time for many women, the experience of pregnancy may also be extremely stressful. Fear, excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, sadness and exhilaration are all feelings that a woman may experience about the impending birth of her baby.
In normal, healthy pregnancies, massage has proven to be beneficial to both mother and unborn baby. Properly applied massage can aid relaxation, benefit circulation and soothe nerves.
A pre-natal massage may assist in some of the conditions a woman may experience during her pregnancy. Such as low back pain, tiredness and fatigue, anxiety, headache, cramps, swelling of the hands and feet, insomnia and sciatic pain.
Massage may also provide the following benefits:-
- Encourages relaxation to reduce stress
- Improves blood and lymph circulation to reduce oedema
- Reduces pain
- Minimizes varicose veins
- Reduces blood pressure
- Relieves muscular fatigue and cramping
- Relieves depression and anxiety
Side-lying is the best position for a pre-natal massage as it supports the head, abdomen, and legs. It is usually the position in which mothers choose to sleep. This position supports all the softening ligaments around the abdomen and hips and is most comfortable to aid in relaxation and enjoyment of the massage.