Pregnancy is generally a very happy and exciting time, but it can also affect your mental health. You may have mixed feelings about being pregnant; or you may find it difficult to cope with the changes which pregnancy brings. Many things can affect how you feel in pregnancy. These include physical symptoms (for example morning sickness), the support you have, looking after older children and any stressful events affecting your life. Women often worry about how they will cope with pregnancy or having a baby. It is completely normal to feel stressed or anxious at this time.
It is widely understood that deep tissue massage can help your body physically, but how can it positively impact your mental health? As many as 1 in 5 women have mental health problems pre- or post-natal. Hormonal changes can cause this to occur during pregnancy, or you may have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety before you even considered having a family. Pregnancy massage therapists in our Chiswick clinic work with pregnant women to release tension in the musculo-skeletal system, but also to ensure you feel relaxed and calm mentally. They ensure that you are lying in a position in which you are completely comfortable. Your therapist will apply long, soothing strokes throughout the body to release stress and increase blood flow. This will induce a feeling of well-being that can alleviate depression and anxiety. In fact, studies show that regular massage therapy during your pregnancy can reduce these symptoms, and even reduce your chances of experiencing post-natal depression.1
Pregnancy massage can also lead to better quality sleep. At a time when you may be struggling to sleep through the night due to physical discomfort or anxiety, the techniques used by your pregnancy massage trained therapist can have a significant effect on aiding sleep disturbances.2 Having a night of good-quality sleep will help your body continue to meet the physical demands of growing a human being, as well as leave you feeling relaxed and able to face the day ahead!
Perhaps most importantly, having a pregnancy massage is a time for self-care. It is a time to focus on yourself and your needs. Throughout the one-hour treatment you are completely looked after; you will feel supported physically and emotionally. You may choose to spend the time in serene silence, clearing your mind of anxious and stressful thoughts. Or you may want to talk with the therapist, discussing any concerns, fears, and excitement. You can relax while the therapist focuses on you and your baby’s needs, and leave the clinic knowing that the treatment has had a positive effect on your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Written by Jo Stewart, Pregnancy Massage Therapist
1. Pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birthweight and postpartum depression
Tiffany Field 1, Miguel Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Osvelia Deeds, Barbara Figueiredo
Affiliations expand PMID: 19646762 DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2009.07.001
2. Effect of Therapeutic Massage on Relieving Pregnancy Discomforts
Authors: Eman El-Hosary, Hanan F Abbas, Samahm El-Homosy
College of Applied Medical Sciences