While a welcomed blessing for most, pregnancy brings world of change for all involved. Pregnancy is a time of turbulent emotions, from euphoria and joy to emotional upheaval and anxiety. Relationship, financial and socio-economic stressors can impact the mother’s experience of pregnancy.
Flight or Fight
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system – the body’s internal “flight-or-fight” response when we experience stress. This response stimulates the production of adrenaline, which can be helpful in responding to emergencies, such as stopping a child from running across a busy road, or slamming of the breaks to avoid a collision with another car. However, chronic and continual arousal of the sympathetic nervous system can have detrimental effects to health. In this state, blood supply in prioritised, and can impact the amount of oxygen and blood circulation to the baby.
Most child birth education programs focus on relaxation. There is an increased chance for positive birth experiences in addition to increased well-being for mother and baby when stress-reduction activities become a part of the mother’s routine.
Relax and Let Go
Relaxation elicits the parasympathetic nervous system, creating physiological balance and improved functioning. When functioning in a relaxed state, the mother will have steady blood pressure and blood and circulation to the uterus, foetus and placenta; improved immune system functioning; and the ability to respond better to stressful events and a reduced experience of anxiety.
In addition to creating bolstering feelings of well-being, improving functioning and increasing optimism, certain types of massage are relaxing, and cause the mother to shift her focus internally and “let go” of the outside world. This internal reflection is not only soothing, but it can prepare the mother for labour and birth.
Massage is conductive to eliciting relaxation responses as the setting is quiet with minimal disruptions and regular and deep breathing rates can be sustained.
Massage the Cornerstone of Relaxation
Pregnancy massage is a time to pause and acknowledge the physical, emotional and mental changes that occur during pregnancy. Not every pregnancy is the same, so treatment is tailored to suit the needs of mum-to-be. Pregnancy Massage uses techniques specific to the common musculoskeletal issues that are unique to pregnancy.
Some of the benefits of pregnancy massage include:
- Reduced back and joint pain, making you feel more comfortable as your baby develops
- Improved circulation and blood supply for your baby
- Reduced oedema and swelling, creating a feeling of lightness
- Reduced muscle tension and headaches
- Reduced stress and anxiety, as massage soothes the nervous system and boosts mood
- Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
- Better sleep
Pregnancy massage is a soothing and nurturing treatment. The comfort of the mother-to-be is paramount and as such, treatment is performed side-lying, with pillows for support at the head and legs and a Denton’s pillow placed under the belly. From a side lying position, the massage therapist has access to the back, hips and glutes which are commonly sore and tense during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Massage assists in remedying many of the common discomforts experienced during pregnancy, such as:
- muscular discomforts, lower-back pain, upper-back pain, neck pain
- leg cramps
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- oedema of the lower extremities
- sacroiliac and hip joint pain
Ensuring the comfort of mum and baby are the number one priorities when providing a pregnancy treatment. The treatment will only begin when mum and baby feel comfortable on the massage table.
Coordinating your massage treatment with your GP, OB/GYN or midwife appointments ensures that we can provide you with the best treatment relative to you and your baby’s development.