Pregnancy is a time of great change. Every part of a woman’s body must adapt to the new life growing within her. Change, even welcome change, is stressful and can sap your energy. The caring touch of massage can help you experience your changing body in a positive way.
Massage Helps Pregnant Women Cope with Stress and Fatigue
Massage is a wonderful way to relax, increase energy and relieve discomfort throughout a pregnancy. A soothing massage can relieve physical and emotional tension, help you sleep better and boost your energy. Massage loosens tight muscles and calms the nervous system; circulation increases, bringing energy-producing nutrients to your cells and carrying away metabolic waste products that can make you feel listless. During massage, you also become more aware of your body, which helps you recognize tension as it builds during the day and consciously release it.
Benefits of Therapeutic Massage During Pregnancy
Therapeutic massage can help expectant mothers:
- Reduce muscle cramps and painful trigger points
- Relieve pain in the muscles and joints of the legs, lower back and upper back
- Increase flexibility, making it easier for the body to adjust to a changing shape
- Ease constipation, reflux, gas and heartburn
- Reduce excess fluid retention
- Slow the progress of varicose veins
- Relieve headaches
Our Approach to Pregnancy Massage
Massage Therapy of Oak Park has specially-designed pillows, wedges and foam cushions so you will be comfortably supported during your massage. In the later stages of pregnancy, you can comfortably experience a complete massage in the side lying position. If lying down is simply not comfortable, you can remain seated or in a semi reclined, fully supported position.
Learning Self-Care Techniques
Besides the immediate relief you get from a massage, you may also learn ways to increase your comfort at home. For example, our massage therapists can demonstrate how to use pillows for support when you are lying down. Your therapist may also suggest gentle exercises and stretches to help relieve tension. You might also learn breathing techniques to help you relax.
Massage During Labor
Massage can help you relax between contractions, reduce pain from tight muscles and provide emotional support and encouragement. Because stress interferes with production of labor-inducing hormones, there is even evidence that massage can promote a speedier birth. Since it is often not an option to have a professional massage therapist present during labor, we encourage you and your birthing partner to make an appointment with Massage Therapy of Oak Park and learn techniques together that can assist during the birthing process. Once you’re home from the hospital, you can schedule a house call from one of our licensed massage therapists.
In the postpartum period, it is as important to care for yourself as it was during pregnancy. Massage can help you handle the physical demands of caring for a newborn by reducing tension and increasing energy. If you are nursing, a relaxing massage can help since tension interferes with milk letdown. Emotionally, massage can nurture and comfort you, especially if you are experiencing challenges like postpartum depression. When to schedule your first postpartum massage will depend on how your delivery went and what your healthcare provider advises. Some benefits of postpartum massage include:
- Restoration of pre-pregnancy physiology
- Reduction in muscle strain/fatigue caused by labor and delivery
- Decrease in scar tissue
- Treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction bladder dysfunction, incontinence and colon dysfunction
- Healing from a cesarean section
- Relief from the stress of newborn care
More Treatment Options
I went to MTOP regularly throughout both pregnancies. Even though I’d had back surgery prior to my first pregnancy, thanks to Rick, I made it through both pregnancies with no back pain whatsoever. The pregnancy massages are also great stress relief for a mom-to-be. They’re not a luxury – they’re a necessity! I highly recommend Rick and MTOP for pregnancy massage.Sandy Emerson