Prenatal massage shares many of the goals of regular massage – to relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good. But it's also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who are trained in prenatal massage adjust their techniques accordingly.
Carrying a baby inside you changes your center of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, legs, and shoulders. Pregnancy relaxes your ligaments, making your pelvic joints less stable. Pregnancy also changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Add to that the extra weight you're carrying and you may find you've got an aching lower back.
A trained prenatal massage therapist knows where a pregnant woman's sore spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. (She'll also know which areas and techniques to avoid.) Still, it's important to communicate with her and tell her where you need attention.
Benefits that a mother may experience:
- Reduces swelling in hands, feet and ankles
- Lessens sciatic pain
- Eases muscular discomforts in areas like the low back & neck, calf cramps, it also helps with tension and tightening that can be experienced throughout the body
- Tones lose muscles relaxes tense muscles and can help increase flexibility.
- Helps with relaxation which in turn can decrease insomnia
- Increases oxygen in the blood, sometimes on up to 10-15% after a massage.
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers, into the brain and nervous system.
- Helps relieve anxiety or depression
- Helps increase blood circulation, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the mother and baby.
- Eases stress mothers often feel after the birth