While many health professionals understand the benefit of massage on stress and quality of life, the practice of prenatal massage is often overlooked. Studies have shown there are a myriad of benefits both the mother and child can get from occasional prenatal massages.
One notable benefit is a regulation of the mother’s hormones. High stress levels, very common in expectant women, have been shown to cause an increase in norepinephrine and cortisol hormones, both of which negatively impact cardiovascular health.
Additionally, expectant mothers can see a decrease in production of helpful hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. Too much of the “bad” and too little of “good” hormones can cause a notable increase in depression. Prenatal massage has been shown to help regulate this imbalance of hormones and lesson some complications that may occur in childbirth.
Nerve pain is another common complaint from woman nearer the end of their pregnancy, specifically the muscles in the lower back and pelvis.
As the body prepares for childbirth, these muscles are pushed and squeeze to make room for hip realignment. This readjustment cause muscles to bunch up and lower circulation in these areas.
Prenatal massage focuses on these areas to loosen up the muscles and lower pressure on the associated nerves.
Regular therapeutic massage in these later months has been shown to not only reduce the presence of nerve pain, but also improve the circulation in these areas and reduce some of the added joint and spinal pressure that can be caused at the same time.
The benefit to this pain reduction through prenatal massage goes beyond quality of life, as it allows for better sleep and more oxygen getting to the soft tissues and muscles in these areas.
These are just two of the many benefits to be gained from a prenatal massage. As the mother’s body is constantly changing to prepare for childbirth, it is recommended that expectant mothers seek weekly or bi-weekly to keep the side effect of these changes to a minimum.