Pregnancy Massage

Michele Atkin

Recent investigations have shown that massage during pregnancy can be an instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and I would recommend that you give it serious consideration as part of your prenatal care programme.

Massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labour outcomes and newborn health.

Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques.  The massage that I perform is based on Swedish Massage and is carried out in a side-lying position, supported by cushions, ensuring your comfort at all times.

Swedish Massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. This technique is recommended during pregnancy as it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts.

Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is given during and post pregnancy. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.

When receiving regular massages hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress) can reduce, and dopamine and serotonin levels can increase (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).

Oedema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.

Sciatic nerve pain can be experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles.

Receiving regular massage during massage provides some quiet time for the mum-to-be, time to contemplate and time to connect with the new life within. This has a positive effect on all, not only physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Massage is safe to perform after the 1st trimester (12 Weeks), providing there are no complications and that permission has be sought from either your GP or Midwife.  Post delivery it is advised that you have your 6 week check-up before having a massage.

This article was written as part of the Holistic Centre spring newsletter ‘Pregnancy and Childbirth’. Continue reading:

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