Pregnancy massage relaxes muscle tension and improves circulation through light to medium pressure applied to specific muscle groups in the body.
Massage during pregnancy, or prenatal massage, can help reduce anxiety, relieve joint pains and muscle aches, decrease depressed moods, and improve the ease of labor.
Pregnancy Massage is Effective for Reducing Stress Hormones
Studies have shown that when massage is part of a woman’s prenatal care, hormone levels associated with stress and relaxation are altered significantly. Pregnant women who received massages for five weeks just every other week had reduced stress hormones and increased serotonin and dopamine (anti-stress hormone) levels. This change resulted in fewer birth complications and fewer newborn complications. The scientific evidence points very strongly to both maternal and newborn health benefits when regular massage is part of their prenatal care.
Other Benefits of Pregnancy Massage
Massage also helps alleviate swelling of the joints, or edema, during pregnancy. It also helps with nerve pain in general, and specifically sciatic nerve pain that is often experienced in late pregnancy.
Women can begin receiving massage therapy at any time in their pregnancy. Other possible benefits of pregnancy, or prenatal massage are:
- Better circulation
- Decreased headaches
- Decreased back pain
- Decreased joint pain
- Decreased inflamation
- Decreased edema
- Decreased anxiety and stress
- Improved sleep
Pregnancy Massage Contradictions
- While massage is perfect for most pregnant women, women with the any of the following conditions should consult their primary care provider before receiving a pregnancy, or prenatal massage:
- Previous pre-term labor
- High risk pregnancy
- Experiencing high blood pressure, severe swelling, or severe headaches
- Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
- Recently gave birth