Going From Ouch to Ahhh: The Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Now that you're pregnant it may seem that your body isn't your own.
Trust me, it is. You just happen to be sharing it! All sorts of changes are taking place to create an environment that will support and encourage the growth of your baby. Some of these changes like your expanding belly and enlarged breasts are visible while others, like hormonal changes you really can't see. Have you found that you can't seem to get a grip on things? You just dropped your coffee cup - again! This is caused by the hormone relaxin which is responsible for relaxing the ligaments in your pelvis. This is a good thing because it will let your baby to be born more easily. However, relaxin doesn't discriminate so instead of loosening only the ligaments in you pelvis it loosens all of your ligaments. This is why you may drop things and feel a little loosey goosey.
Here are some ways that physical and hormonal changes can affect your body.
- Low back pain is a common complaint. This is usually caused by the uterine ligaments stretching. Sometimes there is a compression on the lower spine cause by the way your baby is positioned. Ouch!
- Sleeping on your side while great for your baby can sometimes cause hip pain. You may feel a pain that starts at your hip and radiates down the outside of your leg. This is sciatica and is caused by the piraformis muscle compressing on the sciatic nerve. This can be a big ouch.
- During pregnancy neck and shoulder pain is most often due to postural alignment. Your center of gravity changes. Your head goes forward and your back is swayed. Also the weight of your growing breasts can cause your back to round causing pain between your shoulder blades.Many women carry stress and tension in their neck and shoulders. Spending many hours in front of a computer doesn't help. This pain can be exacerbated when you are pregnant.
- Headaches during pregnancy are usually caused by hormonal changes.
- Swollen feet and ankles can be very uncomfortable. Swelling is caused by the extra amount of fluid your body is retaining. All of this can be very uncomfortable and even painful.
Many doctors recommend massage to their pregnant patients because it is so beneficial in addressing both muscular and hormonal imbalances. Massage can help eliminate or at least lessen all of the common complaints I just mentioned. It not only feels good. It's good for you.
Prenatal Massage is good for both the mother and the baby. It eliminates the common discomforts of pregnancy, prepares your body for labor and eases the anxiety that comes with being pregnant by increasing the secretion of endorphins and serotonin. These are "calming hormones." By the way, these hormones cross over to the placenta and help calm your baby too.
Prenatal Massage is good for both the mother and the baby.
Massage also eases muscle tension and improves circulation which reduces swelling. Stress is a major concern during pregnancy because maternal stress can cause serious problems for the baby including accelerating the fetal heart rate and slowing fetal growth.
Prenatal massage promotes the touch-relaxation-oxytocin response. Oxytocin is the feel good hormone. This is an important hormone during labor as it helps labor progress and helps decrease the sensation of pain. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you are pregnant.
There is so much going on and so much to do to get ready for your baby and you may not be feeling your best. Taking time out from your regular routine and getting a massage allows you to process what is going on and to get in touch with your body. It gives you a place to relax and just be with your body and your baby. There really is no reason to be uncomfortable or in pain. Get a prenatal massage and go from Ouch to Ahhh.
I recommend a prenatal massage at least once a month and more frequently if you are experiencing any specific pain or discomfort. It is so important to take time for yourself. As unbelievable as it may seen, you are making a baby!
Now I'd like to hear from you. Have you tried prenatal massage? What other ways do you deal with those pregnancy aches and pains? Please share or comment in the box below!