Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Why Pregnancy Massages are Becoming So Popular Among Mums-to-be!
Pregnancy massages are becoming more and more popular among expectant mums, with good reason!
What Are Prenatal Massages?
Pregnancy massages are similar in many ways to a normal massage, the main difference being that the massage techniques are adapted to maintain the health and well-being of both the mother and child, while also offering maximum relief to the areas that need it the most and providing relaxation for the expectant mum. Plus if you are particularly fortunate, your prenatal massage therapist may even offer a specialised prenatal massage cushion to ensure complete comfort during your massage :)
The specialised prenatal cushion is simply placed on top of a regular massage table, and offers greater support and comfort than a massage table alone, enabling the pregnancy mum to lie comfortably and safely face down for the duration of the massage. It reduces pressure in the important areas by providing additional support for the face, chest, pelvis and arms/legs if needed. Following several years of creation, the prenatal cushion is optimally designed for relaxing the muscles and providing support for the body's bumps!
What Are The Benefits of A Prenatal Massage?
With a newborn on the way, pregnancy is a very exciting time for soon-to-be mums, however during this special time the body undergoes a number of considerable changes. Pregnancy is therefore often associated with some aches and pains as the amazing female body adjusts into its new role of growing a little human.
Pregnancy massages with a certified pre-natal therapist offer both a safe and comfortable way for the pregnant mum to relax, relieve stress and soothe areas of discomfort, while also promoting general well-being. These specialised massages are safe through all stages of pregnancy and are recommended as a regular treatment from the first few weeks of pregnancy right up until birth to support the numerous changes occurring from week to week, assisting the body to adapt.
As well as offering the perfect opportunity for a new mum to rest and recharge, regular pregnancy massages also enable new mums to embrace their pregnancy and focus on their mother-baby connection in a safe and nurturing environment.
Evidence strongly suggests that there are several health benefits for both the mum and newborn when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care, including improved labour outcomes and newborn health.
Key benefits include:
Recent studies have demonstrated that massage therapy significantly alters the hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress when performed for women’s prenatal care, improving mood regulation and cardiovascular health. The studies demonstrated that stress hormones norepinephrine and cortisol were reduced while dopamine and serotonin, associated with mood and feelings of well-being, were both increased. These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer birth and newborn complications, such as low birth weight.
Joint swelling is common during pregnancy and is generally caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavier uterus. Massage helps to reduce fluid accumulation in swollen joints by stimulating soft tissues, whilst also improving detoxification with the removal of waste products from tissues via the body’s lymphatic system.
Improved nerve pain
Many women experience sciatic nerve pain, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy, caused by the uterus resting on the pelvic floor muscles and lower back, leading to pressure and muscle tension in the legs, causing swelling and pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy helps to release this muscle tension to relieve pressure on the nerves, with many women experiencing significant reductions in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.
A greater sense of relaxation helps to reduce stress and anxiety,
Sleep disruptions are minimised through improved sleep patterns and better sleep quality
Specialised pregnancy massage techniques help to ease pain associated with both physical and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy
Hormonal headaches are reduced
Leg cramps are minimised due to improved circulation
Muscle tension, particularly in the hips, lower back, shoulders and neck is eased, which also helps to prepare for breast-feeding
Joint range of motion and flexibility is increased
Detoxification processes are enhanced from improved circulation and stimulation of the lymphatic system
Oedema and swelling of the extremities, including hands, feet + lower legs, is reduced to improve discomfort and reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome
A healthier overall pregnancy is maintained
1. American Pregnancy Association. Massage and Pregnancy – Prenatal Massage.
2. Field, T. (1999). Pregnant Women Benefit From Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mar;20(1):31-8.
3. Field, T. (2004). Massage Therapy Effects on Depressed Pregnant Women. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jun;25(2):115-22.
4. Howell, Julie, NMT, PMT, Prenatal Health Through Massage Therapy: For Women and Their Babies.