Pregnancy Blog 1/3
We all know that pregnancy has a challenging impact on mum’s body, but how much do we understand? And how can she stay healthy and happy throughout this exciting time? In this series of Discover Pregnancy Massage blogs, we aim to shed further light on how pre-natal massage can support you, your baby, and your body.
Pregnancy Posture Challenges – can massage limit damage occurring?
Pregnancy has significant effects on your body, bringing about a range of aches and pains in places that have never hurt before! In pregnancy, your massage goals of pain relief and relaxation are the same as non-pregnant life. But these outcomes may be even more important to achieve during such a potentially stressful time. Massage is considered safe for most women in the second and third trimesters of their pregnancy. Studies show that women who invest in regular pregnancy massage have decreased instances of depression, anxiety and leg and back pain while also experiencing less painful and shorter labours.1
The most common complaints during pregnancy are lower back pain, hand/wrist pain and hip pain.2 By choosing to have a pregnancy massage we can help you to relieve these symptoms the natural way by decreasing tightness in muscles and increasing movement in your effected joints.
As your baby grows during pregnancy, your joints are challenged by altered posture, muscular imbalances, and changes in joint mobility. These changes often cause pain, difficulty with balance, and reduced activity. As your pregnancy progresses into the second and third trimesters, your muscles may also feel tight and tired. Whilst this is normal, some women will experience it more than others, particularly when increasing weight compresses imbalanced joints.
One relatively common condition is Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). SPD is a series of uncomfortable symptoms caused by stiffness in your pelvic joints – or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your hips. During a pregnancy massage, the therapist will work to create space around the hip joints, releasing tightened muscles and allowing room for improved blood flow.
Another side-effect of pregnancy that causes frustration in many women is difficulty walking or performing normal daily activities. Core muscle weakness can make basic movements such as getting out of a chair, car, or bed difficult. This may be exacerbated by weight gain and oedema (fluid retention) in the legs and arms. By using long, stretching strokes to the body, the massage therapist can encourage your immune system to flow more effectively, flushing unwanted fluid from the limbs whilst also delivering oxygen and nutrients to those over-tired muscles.
We understand that the unique needs of each woman who visits The Massage Centre in Chiswick for a prenatal massage vary widely. Your needs will determine the type of massage techniques we use. Special care is taken to ensure you remain completely comfortable throughout the treatment. You will have the option of a pregnancy massage cushion which is designed to allow pregnant women to safely lie on their front without causing pain or problems for the baby – what bliss this is for many expectant mums! We find that most women who are feeling stressed and achy love the opportunity to lie on their front. However, we are also happy to treat you in a side lying position, using cushions and bolsters to ensure you feel fully supported and relaxed.
The pregnancy massage trained therapist will use different techniques to address your specific concerns, which have been adapted to be safe throughout your second and third trimesters. We may begin with techniques to warm the skin and introduce a sense of calm. When ready deep tissue massage strokes are then used to ease the pressure on your joints, release stressed muscles and create a feeling of balance throughout your entire body. At the end of the treatment the therapist will advise ways to prolong this feeling, as well as give personal advice for pre-natal exercise and stretches.
Having a pregnancy massage in our Chiswick clinic every fortnight (from your 12-week scan) can have an increasingly positive effect on your painful muscles and joints, even helping them to recover more quickly after your baby is born. It is a luxurious way to gently move the sore areas and increase your range of movement carefully, helping to soothe the pain away and allowing you to fully enjoy this very exciting time!
Written by Jo Stewart, Pregnancy Massage Therapist
- Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol.Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 Jan 1.
Published in final edited form as:
Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar; 5(2): 177–181.
- Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis.2018 Dec; 10(12): 229–234.
Published online 2018 Nov 19. doi: 10.1177/1759720X18812449