It begins with such excitement and anticipation.
Your world starts to change just as your body does and although many of these changes are happy ones they can be stressful as well, both physically and emotionally. Massage is a wonderful way to relax, increase energy and ease discomfort during pregnancy.
Benefits of Massage during pregnancy can include:
* Stress Management – physical and emotional relaxation
* Fatigue Reduction – especially helpful for insomnia
* Eases Headaches – tension and toxic waste can build up and congest tissue
* Increases Circulation – enhanced oxygen to cells and clearing of waste
* Increases Flexibility – through massage and self-care exercises and/or stretches
* Eases constipation, gas and heartburn
* Slows the progression of varicose veins
* Reduces fluid retention
* Enhances self-esteem at a time when the body’s shape is changing daily
* Helps maintain skin elasticity
* Pain Reduction – the hormone ‘relaxin‘ causes a softening of joint structures and as the biomechanics of the body change with the passing months, muscles can get overworked, stiff, tight and achy
* Helps prepare for labour – as body awareness increases so does your ability to identify tense areas and consciously release them through practiced breathing and relaxation techniques
MASSAGE DURING CHILDBIRTH
Childbirth is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences life has to offer. It can also be a source of worry, tension and fear but it doesn’t have to be.
Massage can be an integral part of the birthing process. In addition to working with you prior to labour, your massage therapist can be in the delivery room with you as a labour support provider, acting as a constant presence who gives physical, emotional and informational support before, during and after childbirth. The use of breathing, visualization, massage, position changes and hydrotherapy have been proven to ease pain and increase relaxation. By promoting relaxation between contractions and easing stress both physically and emotionally these techniques can even promote a speedier birth!
A labour support provider will not only ease your fears but also help your partner through the process as well. You’ll both have someone to ask questions and turn to for advice and support.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING TREATMENT
As with any massage, you will always be covered during treatment with the exception of the body part being worked on and the therapist will always work within your pain tolerance. Initially, you will be able to lie on your tummy and as you grow pillows will be used to prop you up. The final months will have you on one side then switching to the other. Although massage can’t completely relieve the discomforts of pregnancy or childbirth, it can definitely ease the physical and emotional stress and help to make the experience as positive and rewarding as possible for you, your partner and your new baby.
And it doesn’t stop there. It’s just as important to care for your body after the birth as before no matter how hectic life is with a new baby. Massage can help ease the transition for both mother and baby in several ways including:
* lessening breast tenderness
* promoting milk letdown
* easing postpartum “blues”
You can even have your baby in the room with you if you choose. And don’t forget to ask about infant massage so baby can join in on the fun too!
PREGNANCY MASSAGE AND SAFETY
Good communication between a Massage Therapist and mother is very important. Although massage is healthy and pleasurable during a normal pregnancy, there are some conditions where adaptations may be needed. The therapist needs to be informed of all changes, no matter how minor they may be, in order to perform the safest and most beneficial treatment.
Being a new parent can be exhilarating and frightening all at once and as much as we would love everything to go smoothly, it rarely does. Baby is adjusting to life outside the womb and your body is undoing in eight weeks what it took nine months to create! As you both try to find a new balance, infant massage can be a great help.
Benefits of Infant Massage can include:
* Helps stimulate circulatory, nervous & digestive systems
* Helps teach baby how to relax
* Promotes parent-infant bonding
* Increases baby’s threshold for touch stimulation
* Relieves colic or gassy symptoms
* Helps strengthen immune function
* Helps baby sleep deeper and longer
* Helps facilitate motor coordination
* May enhance myelination of axons
* Helps baby maintain steady oxygen levels when under stress
* Promotes baby’s ability to maintain alert state
* Increases baby’s ability to gain weight
* May help babies with physical and/or mental disabilities to better adjust and cope with daily stress