Whether you’re in your first, second or third trimester, you can probably benefit from a soothing prenatal massage. After you’ve cleared it with your health-care provider, and after you’ve found a registered massage therapist (look for one who specializes in and feels comfortable with prenatal massage), lie back (or on your side) and relax! Here are some of the benefits you could gain from indulging in a prenatal massage.
Stress Reduction and Improved Mood
Studies have shown that pregnant women who receive regular massages experience less stress and have higher levels of dopamine and serotonin (low levels of these two hormones are linked to depression). These hormonal changes were also linked to fewer birth and newborn complications, such as low birth weight.
Back Pain Relief
As the uterus grows and puts pressure on the pelvic floor and lower back, some women may experience the awful pain of Sciatica, which is the result of nerves being pressed or pinched. Prenatal massage can help to reduce sciatic nerve pain by relieving the tension in the nearby muscles that are doing the pressing or pinching.
Another thing that can be affected by a growing uterus is circulation: as the uterus grows heavier, it can put pressure on major blood vessels, restricting blood flow to the extremities. The result can be swelling in the arms, hands, legs, feet and joints, also known as edema. Massage can help to reduce this swelling and stimulate blood flow in the affected areas.
Relief for Minor Pains and Discomforts
Massage has many other potential benefits, including reduction in muscle tension and headaches, reduced joint pain, reduced anxiety and better sleep!
How to Find a Registered Massage Therapist
Check the following sites to find a registered massage therapist near you:
Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario
Registered Massage Therapists’ Assocation of British Columbia
Massage Therapy Canada