Benefits of ante-natal massage:
- When done effectively, helps to reduce stress hormones within a pregnant woman’s body. It also increases the levels of hormones which tend to be low in women who are depressed.
- It leads to a reduction in anxiety and free floating concerns. There is often an improvement in general mood following a massage.
- Pregnant women often find a massage rejuvenates their energy because it gives them an opportunity to rest and completely relax.
- For some pregnant women, massage can relieve nausea and heartburn. In others, it can make these worse.
- Relieves the everyday discomforts of pregnancy such as an aching neck, sore back, and heaviness in the pelvic bones, leg cramps, swelling of the ankles and feet and oedema (fluid retention).
- Leads to muscle relaxation and relief of joint pain. Pregnancy massage can be particularly helpful for women who experience sciatic nerve pain.
- Builds a sense of connection with another person as well as building a rapport. Many pregnant women experience a change in their intimate relationship with their partner and suffer from being “touch deprived”.
- Pregnancy massage may improve the progression of labour with better health outcomes for both the mother and her baby. More relaxed mothers may have a lower risk of interventions during labour and birth.
- Pregnancy massage can provide an opportunity for women to completely stop what they are doing and focus on the pleasure of having someone else do something just for them.
- Improved sleep due to feeling less muscle tension and generally less uncomfortable.
When to avoid having a pregnancy massage:
- If your maternity care provider has advised you against it.
- Some massage therapists have a policy of not doing pregnancy massages within the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. This is because of the increased risk for miscarriage in the first 12 weeks of gestation.
- If you are in a high risk pregnancy category or have previously had a premature labour.
- If you have Pregnancy Induced Hypertension e.g. high blood pressure.
- If you have pre-eclampsia, or sudden swelling with retention of fluid. If you experience severe headaches.
- If having a pregnancy massage causes you to feel sick, lightheaded, gives you a headache or you don’t enjoy the experience. Don’t feel as if you have to do it just because others feel it’s a good idea. Some women genuinely don’t like being touched and find massages an intrusion of their privacy.
- If you feel the massage therapist is being too vigorous you need to say so. Ask them to be a little gentler and keep the lines of communication open between you both. This is what is termed a therapeutic relationship and it needs to be working for you both in order to gain maximum benefit.
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