Pregnancy brings many hormonal changes to your body. Some of which are unique to this special time in a woman’s life. The correct balance of hormones is essential for a successful pregnancy, developing and changing through each trimester. These hormonal rollercoasters have profound physiological effects which can be both baffling and complex. Looking at the normal surges in oestrogen and progesterone which occur, as well as other hormones, we aim to cover how these rises impact your many body systems and how pregnancy massage in Chiswick can help.
Oestrogen and progesterone are the main hormones that effect pregnancy. In fact, you will produce more oestrogen during one pregnancy than throughout your entire life when not pregnant. During the first trimester levels of oestrogen increase rapidly, causing nausea (morning sickness) for some women. They can also cause those incredible (and sometimes questionable) food cravings! These levels will continue to rise until the third trimester, when they are at their highest.
Oestrogen is a hormone which is responsible for sustaining the placenta, including ensuring vital nutrients are delivered to the uterus. It also has a major role in the development of the foetus and controls the production of all other hormones required during pregnancy. One of these that is particularly relevant to massage is Relaxin. Relaxin helps your body make space for the growing baby by loosening joints, muscles and ligaments in the lower back, hips, and pelvis. Some women find that this decreases stability and affects their balance. It can also cause aching and pain in the area. Pregnancy massage therapists understand this process and can help to ease the pain by applying long strokes with light pressure to ensure that the affected muscles are maintained in a relaxed state. Instability is kept to a minimum by using methods to keep postural change balanced across both sides of the body.
Levels of progesterone also increase throughout the pregnancy. Among many other vital jobs, progesterone stimulates blood flow into the womb as well as having a major role in the development of the baby. Progesterone surges are also accountable for mood swings throughout the pregnancy due its effects on the brain. It is normal to encounter periods of tearfulness during this time, which may also be exacerbated by reduced levels of exercise, particularly if you are used to a full fitness routine. As we know, exercise is vital for maintaining good mental health. Regular sessions of pregnancy massage have been proven to reduce episodes of stress and tearfulness by maintaining the joints and muscles, allowing pregnant women continue with their normal levels of physical activity. Swimming, running, yoga or even just walking is good for you and your baby, so long as you feel comfortable. In fact, some evidence shows that active women are less likely to experience problems during labour.
Oxytocin, an incredible hormone, is known as the “hormone of love” as it creates feelings of love as well as a state of “euphoria”, helping to nurture maternal feelings between you and your baby. Levels of oxytocin rise when labour starts, triggering contractions.
Regular pregnancy massage has been shown to help with the physical demands of labour on the body, as well as pre-natal and post-natal mental health for our Chiswick clients. By prioritising massage as part of your healthcare routine, you too can be confident in the knowledge that you are helping your body and mind adjust to these normal hormonal changes.