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5 Benefits of Incorporating Prenatal Massage Into Your Self-Care Routine

Pregnancy is a time of immense joy and excitement, but also one that can be challenging for many women. As their bodies undergo a multitude of transformations and experience discomforts from changes in weight, posture, and center of gravity, many expecting mothers are searching for safe and effective ways to alleviate pain and improve mood. Incorporating prenatal massage into your self-care routine is a fantastic way to enhance your pregnancy journey, while providing physical and emotional well-being benefits for you and your baby.

What is Pregnancy Massage Therapy?

Prenatal massage is a specialized form of bodywork that is tailored to the specific needs of pregnant individuals. It focuses on the specific areas of discomfort and provides relief from common pregnancy discomforts such as back pain, sciatica, hip pain, and leg swelling. In addition to pain relief, pregnancy massage promotes mental and emotional wellness, as well as prepares the body for childbirth by reducing stress, enhancing sleep, and improving mood.

1. Hormone Regulation

The gentle touch and techniques used in pregnancy massage help to stabilize hormone levels that tend to fluctuate during pregnancy. Studies have shown that in women who received regular therapeutic massage, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones) were reduced while dopamine and serotonin were increased – leading to improved mood and less anxiety and depression.

2. Increased Circulation

As the center of gravity shifts during pregnancy, a mother’s weight is often concentrated on her feet and legs, creating a build-up of fluid and swelling. Prenatal massage helps to stimulate soft tissues and reduce fluid retention, thereby providing much-needed relief from discomforts like back pain and leg swelling.

3. Relieves Heartburn and Digestion

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can impact the digestive system, causing issues such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. Pregnancy massage techniques, such as kneading and gentle strokes, help to relieve these symptoms by stimulating the stomach’s digestive tract and encouraging movement of food through the colon.

4. Releases Bonding Hormones

Studies have found that prenatal massage encourages the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” This chemical helps to establish a stronger emotional connection between mother and child and can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.

5. Reduces Swelling

Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can lead to a build-up of fluid and swelling in the legs, ankles, arms, and hands. Prenatal massage boosts circulation, which helps to relieve these uncomfortable symptoms by increasing blood flow and removing excess fluids.

6. Better Sleep

Pregnancy massage can help to improve sleep quality by reducing insomnia and relaxing the entire body. Prenatal massage also stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood elevators, promoting a sense of wellbeing and relaxation that can help to ease tension and stress-related sleep disturbances.

While the list of benefits associated with prenatal massage is impressive, it’s important to note that pregnancy massage should only be provided by trained and certified massage therapists who are familiar with the unique needs and restrictions of expectant mothers. To ensure your safety and comfort, it’s critical to consult with your healthcare provider before booking a pregnancy massage appointment.

While the benefits of massage are numerous, many women may wonder whether it’s safe for them to get a massage while pregnant. Family chiropractor in Atlanta at Midtown Family Wellness, says that for the most part, it’s safe to receive a prenatal massage. However, she recommends that all women check with their OB/GYN or midwife first to ensure that it’s okay and to provide guidance on when it’s not safe.

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