Pregnancy puts the body of the mother under a lot of stress and massage can be seen as a valid means to alleviate some of it. Massage therapy is known to relieve many of the issues faced by pregnant women such as circulatory and hormonal as well as skeletal and muscular stresses.
Pregnancy massage can help in reducing swelling of joints caused due to the heavy pressure on the major blood vessels by the uterus and constricted circulation. Pregnancy massage can decrease fluid concentration in joints, improve lymphatic fluid circulation and stimulate soft tissue in joints.
Hormones like Norepinephrine and Cortisol are hormones that increase due to stress can be regulated by continued pregnancy massage according to various long term studies. It also helps in increased Dopamine and Serotonin levels which are hormones related to mood regulation.
Pregnancy massage also helps in reducing sciatic nerve pain. This is experienced late in pregnancy when the heavy uterus rests on pelvic floor and lower back, spreading to the legs causing swelling. Massage relieves tension in these parts. All these benefits lead to a reduced anxiety and greater well-being of the mother and thereby the child.
However massage is still not very well understood from a medical standpoint and therefore one needs to be careful while going for pregnancy massage treatment. It can be availed at any point in the pregnancy but should be avoided in the first trimester as this period is extremely risky and sees the most instances of miscarriages. It should also be avoided when experiencing nausea and when under high risk of miscarriage or when pregnancy is diagnosed as high risk.
Side lying posture is considered best for pregnancy massage and tables with a hole for the uterus should be avoided as they can’t be trusted and put undue pressure and cause stretching.