Congratulations, you are having a baby! The news is often followed by a surge of excitement and trepidation. For most this is welcome news. You begin to feel the subtle changes in your body and how you feel daily. The thought that there is a life growing inside you can be mind-boggling: it is one of the mysteries and wonders of life.
Among many of the activities that expectant mothers learn about as they prepare for birth, sometimes massage is at the bottom of the list, but there are many reasons that it should be at the top. The biggest one is self care of both your body and your mind/emotions. Research has already shown that a calm mother means a calm baby in the womb and later. You are setting up the neuro-nervous system in utero. That is extremely important for the full life of the child you carry. When you are on the massage table, that time is all yours to let go and unwind. It helps loosen and relax the muscles and joints, along with maintaining general body tone, assisting with circulation, both blood and lymph, and relieves mental and physical fatigue. At each stage of the mother’s bodily changes and baby’s growth, there are different needs and massage usually can address most. These changes can bring about discomfort at times such low back pain. While massage can be toning, it also can help loosen and stretch tight muscles. The well-known researcher, Tiffany Field, PhD., stated, following a 2011 study, that women who received massage during their pregnancies had decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Those women in the study also “reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain.”
Old wives tales to overcome are that massage therapists can induce labor while working on the ankles because of a reflexology point or acupressure point. This is not true. If we could do that we would have been sought out for this reason much more often. Another old wive’s tale is that you cannot have a massage during the first trimester. There are some therapists and doctors that follow that, but this author/therapist does not. Healthy women with a healthy pregnancy are fine. A doctor’s note is usually recommended, but ultimately it your responsibility to inform the therapist of any issues. In this author’s massage practice, there is a form to sign if the client does not bring a doctor’s note.
Massage at all levels of pregnancy and all times of life helps us connect with our bodies, mind and spirit, even. Massage is life affirming, and you and your baby will both be calmer and more peaceful when you invest in this regular experience.
Looking for more information on pregnancy? We have a ton! Check out our complete guide to pregnancy for everything you need.
This guest post was written by Linda Strickland, BA, CHt, RM, BCTMB, LMT owner of Aviva Massage and well-being center and long-time sponsor of Northshore Parent. You can schedule an appointment with Linda by calling 985-264-2514 or you can schedule one through her website. You can also follow her on Facebook for more information about massage and other holistic health practices.