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Besides the joy and excitement of the arrival of a new baby, pregnancy can also bring with it some challenges, both physical and emotional.
After the first trimester, pregnancy massage is recommended to support you through those challenges by promoting relaxation, aiding blood circulation and alleviating aches and pains. Pre-natal massage is similar to regular massage but it is adapted to meet the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies.
During pregnancy, your body undergoes huge structural and hormonal changes. As the foetus develops, your posture changes to accommodate the growing baby and the increasing weight. It alters your centre of gravity, pulling your pelvis forward and putting a lot of strain on your back, abdominal muscles, neck and shoulders. Pregnancy also loosens your ligaments, so your pelvis becomes unstable.
Pregnancy massage is effective in relaxing the muscles, releasing tension, improving posture and mobility, and easing pain. It can also alleviate sciatic pain and pelvic pain, offering a healthy and safe alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.
By relaxing the muscles in the pelvis, pregnancy massage can also facilitate labour in first-time mums, by allowing the bones of the pelvis to open.
During pregnancy the blood increases in volume by 50%. The increase in volume, together with the weight of the uterus, puts pressure on the legs and may cause swollen ankles and feet in the last trimester. Pregnancy massage can be beneficial in promoting the circulation of blood and fluids and reducing swelling.
A pregnancy is a huge, life-changing event, which may provoke stress and anxiety in some expectant mothers, particularly in those who may have suffered pregnancy loss previously.
Anxiety may also occur as a result of the significant hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. Pre-natal massage can be very effective in promoting relaxation and improving sleep by lowering stress hormones, thus benefiting both mother and child.
Massage helps you to let go of your mental chatter and it brings your mind back into your body. In so doing, it helps you reconnect with your inner stillness and nurture the bond with your baby growing inside your womb.
Preliminary trials suggest that pregnancy massage may reduce the chances of a premature labour and low birth weight in women who suffer from anxiety.
Pregnancy massage may also be beneficial in the early stages of labour to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Pregnancy massage takes place on a massage table. You usually lie on your side and the therapist will provide pillows and bolsters for support. You shouldn’t lie on your back as the weight of the baby puts too much pressure on the main vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart.
There are many different massage techniques which can be drawn on for pregnancy massage. Usually deeper massage techniques will be avoided during pregnancy and gentler, relaxing massage techniques are used instead.
Pregnancy massage maybe contraindicated if you have a blood clot, or if you are at risk of placental abruption or premature labour.
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