Studies have shown that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques.
Basic Relaxation Massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Massage during pregnancy addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts.
Recent studies have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is included in prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health.
Bi-weekly massages for only five weeks have been shown to reduce hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones associated with stress), and increase dopamine and serotonin levels (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). Changes in these hormone levels led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of newborn complications, such as low birth weight. Evidence strongly suggests there are maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system. If nausea is not an issue, time on the chi machine can be added to your session to increase the reduction in edema.
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Sacrology can be added to a session safely if sciatica is an issue. Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage and sacrology.
Benefits of prenatal massage:
Are there any precautions for Prenatal Massage?
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider. The best way to address the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and to work together with knowledgeable professionals. In most cases, massage is completely safe throughout all phases of pregnancy. Depending on how far along you are, special pillows and bolsters may be used to support you throughout your pregnancy to reduce stress on the body and allow access to muscles that are tensed and pained.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Pregnancy
Manual Lymphatic Drainage, often abbreviated as MLD, is a very gentle specialized therapy in which the skin is stretched in the direction of lymphatic flow encouraging movement within the lymphatic system. It optimizes the functioning of the lymphatic system as a whole by wy of facilitating the removal of metabolic wastes, excess water, and micro-organisms from the connective tissue. The result isa reduction in fluid retention and swelling as well as lighter legs and improvement in the appearance of stretch marks.
If you’re suffering with tired feet or water retention, MLD during pregnancy can be very beneficial. This gentle massage technique helps to encourage the flow and release of excess fluid held within the tissues just below the skin. Many women find it very helpful, especially during the later stages of pregnancy, to help prevent or treat edema.
Fluid retention can cause uncomfortable temporary conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and swollen ankles during pregnancy. Many women find that as they progress through the third trimester and reach the last few weeks, swollen feet and ankles can become very uncomfortable. By gently moving the lymphatic fluid using light massage strokes, manual lymphatic drainage can be very beneficial, as well as promoting relaxation and calm.
As part of your treatment Jen Adams, LMT may use a range of essential oils, acupressure and massage techniques in addition to the MLD to support and encourage relaxation and calmness.
60 minutes, $75 -
90 minutes, $110 -
* If you are experiencing water retention, more than one treatment of lymphatic drainage is recommended. Bring along your partner to your session, and they can learn from Jen Adams, LMT how to perform some simple lymphatic drainage techniques for use at home. Bonus, this is ideal for giving them something practical they can do to help you feel better every day!
Other questions may be answered on my Pregnancy FAQ page.