What You Should Know About Massage Therapy during Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, questions and concerns always abound regarding what is and what is not safe for an expectant mother. Many pregnant women would love to have a relaxing massage, but may question if massage therapy is safe during pregnancy. The good news is that research has shown that prenatal massage is indeed safe in most situations. Even better, it can actually be a helpful part of a woman’s prenatal care. Of course, it is always important to inform your primary health provider of any supplemental treatment you are considering during pregnancy. A registered massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy will also need to know your medical updates as the pregnancy progresses.
The Benefits Prenatal Massage Can Offer
Studies have shown that massage therapy can offer a wide range of benefits to pregnant women, including the reduction of anxiety, a decreased chance of postpartum depression, and reduced muscle and joint pain. Massage therapy has also been shown to improve the birthing experience and even the health of a newborn baby when the mother employed massage therapy as a routine part of her prenatal care.
In addition to the physical benefits of prenatal massage, there are emotional benefits as well. Some studies have shown that the hormones associated with stress are altered when a woman adds massage therapy to her prenatal care, reducing stress hormones (such as cortisol) and increasing dopamine and serotonin levels, which can improve an expectant mother’s emotional well-being. This not only helps to decrease depression during pregnancy, but can also decrease the risk of postpartum depression after delivery.
Different Types of Massage Therapy
There are various types of massage therapy. A massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage will know which techniques are best used during pregnancy. ‘Swedish’ massage is most often the form of massage recommended for expectant mothers. This particular form of massage can significantly alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms that can be brought on by the skeletal and circulatory changes that women experience during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who want to reap the benefits of prenatal massage therapy should make sure they go to a licensed massage therapist who is experience in prenatal massage. Also, as the pregnancy progresses through each trimester, conditions of the pregnancy may change and it is important to keep all your health care providers in the information ‘loop’ for the best possible care.