While your body is working hard to produce a beautiful baby, you may start to feel tired, sore, and anxious. Pregnancy massage is a great way to relax and have these issues addressed.
Regular massages during pregnancy are very beneficial to you and your growing baby's health. Pregnancy massage can help increase blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your cells and your growing baby, which may lead to less fatigue for you and better nourishment for your child. A relaxed mother is also likely to have a happier, healthier pregnancy and can possibly experience an easier birth.
Benefits of Pregnancy Massage:
- Increase relaxation and reduced anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Reduced oedema in the feet and ankles
- Help remove toxins and waste within the body
- Improved proprioception to support body changes
- Eases aches and pains associated with pregnancy
- Helps to stabilise hormones and blood pressure
During pregnancy the body is constantly changing and is never static. As your baby grows and develops during pregnancy, your body has to change to accommodate for the space that your baby requires. It's because of this that your massage should also change to suit the development of your pregnancy.
First Trimester (0- 13 weeks)
During the first Trimester of pregnancy, there is little noticeable change occurring, however there are lots of hormonal changes happening internally. You may be experiencing nausea, vomiting, fatigue, increased urination, constipation, anemia, headaches, and dizziness. Pregancy can also either exacerbate or alleviate existing aches and pains you had prior to falling pregnant.
Having a massage during your first trimester is safe. Techniques will be applied differently according to your needs, especially if you are experiencing nausea and/ or vomiting. It is safe for you to lie on you back and tummy; however, extra padding and support will be applied for your comfort.
Second Trimester (14- 26 weeks)
You may start to notice some physical changes to your body, experiencing stress to the lower/ upper back and shoulders. Breathing in your tummy may start to become difficult, and you may start to notice stretch marks along with breast swelling and tenderness. During the second trimester your rib cage also starts to flare out and elevate, which causes your diaphragm to elevate and change the way you breathe. The great news is that most of you experience an increase in energy (Woohoo!)
Due to the physical changes in your body that occur during the second trimester, I find it beneficial to focus on the lower and upper back to address the related changes in your center of gravity. It's also good to have extra work on the ribs due to the slight shifts in position, and massage applied to your glutes if you're experiencing sciatica. However, please be aware the treatment will be tailored to your individual needs and desired outcome.
Lying with a special pregnancy massage pillow at this stage can cause extra strain on your back, so you'll be lying on your side from here on- sorry, ladies, I know some of you will miss lying on your tummy, but I have your best interests at heart!
Third Trimester (27- 40+ weeks)
As your baby hasn't stopped growing and developing, breathing, moving, and walking may be more difficult. You may be experiencing heart burn, frequent urination, constipation, trouble sleeping, and oedema in your ankles and feet. Oedema is more common in the warmer months, but can still occur during winter for some.
During the Third Trimester it is beneficial to focus on decreasing the stress to postural muscles such as your adductors, legs, hips/ glutes, lower back, and neck. We also focus on reducing any oedema and increasing relaxation. However, as previously mentioned, treatment will be tailored to your individual needs and desired outcome. You will also be lying on your side to reduce any lower back strain.
Benefits of Side-lying during Second & Third Trimester
- Reduces the pressure in the lumbar and pelvis joints.
- Prevents sinus pressure
- Allows easy access to shoulder muscles and muscles surrounding and supporting the ribs
- Minimises strain on uterine ligaments
In Chinese Medicine there are certain pressure points in the body that are believed to potentially affect the health and growth of your baby prior to birth. I feel it is beneficial to avoid these points to ensure that you and your baby are well.