Pregnancy & Birth

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Massage is so beneficial to mama AND baby.

I budget for regular massages like it is just another regular bill, especially when I was pregnant! Here’s why:

Massage helps mom’s body eliminate waste products like lactic acid and other cellular waste through the lymphatic and circulatory systems, combating fatigue and helping the mother feel more energetic. Not to mention that massage helps keep her body’s toxic load in check for her AND baby.

-By aiding circulation, massage eases the load on mom’s heart and keeps her blood pressure in check. Preclampsia is no joke, it’s life threatening for mama AND baby.

Muscular discomforts, such as cramping, tightening, backaches, sore hip, stiffness, tension, knots, headaches, edema, and swollen feet can all be alleviated. Gone. You CAN feel comfortable lugging around an extra 45 pounds of weight! (Ahem, for me it was like 90 pounds by the end of my pregnancy!)

Massage can relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes by stimulating glandular secretions. Experiencing prenatal anxiety? Check out my online program Art of Motherhood School to learn a ton of self-care and self-healing techniques (and everything you need to know to prepare for birth!). Getting a massage is a sure way to reduce anxiety.

Massage increases local and general blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both mother and fetus. This means greater vitality and less fatigue for mom and better nourishment for her baby. Outside of feeling more comfortable and feeling more at peace, this is a biggie for me. Growing a human baby is serious business. Your body needs all the help it can get and when it’s relaxed, it functions better at it’s job, which at the moment is to grow a freaking human.

It relaxes tense muscles, tones loose muscles, increases muscular flexibility which will be most helpful during the last trimester and for birth itself. Daily yoga and stretching is still necessary, but a lot of massage therapists can do passive stretching.

-Massage soothes and relaxes nervous tension, allowing the mother sleep more easily and more deeply. Incidentally, doctors all agree that a relaxed mother will have a happier, healthier pregnancy and possibly an easier childbirth experience, too.

-Massage can be done during birth to make it easier and more comfortable for mom, and after birth as well to help her regain strength more quickly and ease postpartum stress.

It’s wonderful to set up and establish trust and rapport with a massage therapist during pregnancy, so that you feel comfortable with her during birth and early postpartum. You may not want to be touched during active labor and transition, but massage is great during early labor and on days 2-4 postpartum will make you feel like a new woman.

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

I started getting professional massages when I was about 11 years old, and became a licensed massage therapist myself when I was 18 (I’ve practiced for 15 years!), getting regular massages ever since. When I was pregnant with Penelope, I got a massage every 3 or 4 weeks instead of every 4 or 5 weeks and without them I know I would have been in more physical pain and way more stressed out.

From my Penelope Pregnancy Diary:

“The last few weeks I have been getting very uncomfortable. It hurts to sit in a chair for more than 15 minutes and my feet hurt if I am standing for more than 5 minutes. My shoulders hurt from sleeping on my side. My calves cramp up. At night I can’t get comfortable and have a hard time going to sleep. But massage makes everything better!

So if you are pregnant, pause and seriously consider the enormous impact a massage can have on your health and the health of your child during pregnancy when considering your family’s budget. The time during your pregnancy should be spent relaxing, emotionally and physically preparing for the birth of your child. Instead, most women are frazzled, stressed and just plain exhausted from working, taking care of other children, and getting everything “done” before baby arrives. Along with the joys of pregnancy comes some discomfort that makes getting everything done a little harder! Pregnancy massage is a fantastic way to reduce any discomfort from your pregnancy and creates a precious moment all to yourself to relax and give your baby all the positive benefits that result from you being relaxed. When you are relaxed, you and your baby are healthy. Getting a massage may seem like an outrageous luxury, but medical research shows that getting a massage is a very important part of your prenatal care. A pregnancy massage makes a great baby shower gift or can win big points for hubby!

And once baby gets here, keep up those regular massages! Self-care is critical to being a good mom. You are not going to be able to stay patient and calm with a screaming baby if you don’t take care of yourself first.

In the comment section tell me about your experience with massage during pregnancy and postpartum! Any tips you want to share with other moms?

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