Benefits of massage in pregnancy
Il massage has been practiced for centuries for improve health, reduce stress and relieve muscle tension. Pregnant women have often received ambivalent responses regarding the safety and purpose of massage during pregnancy. Modern research is showing that prenatal massage it can be an important ingredient in the care of expectant mothers and should be rightly valued.
Massage during pregnancy is therefore not indulging in a luxury but a caress, one cuddle very special for the mother and the little one she carries in her womb.
The benefits of massage in pregnancy
The positive effects of massage in pregnancy are:
- reduction of anxiety
- decreased pain in the legs and back
- improved sleep and rest
- decreased levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine
- improvement of the functions of the immune system
- invaluable help for childbirth and the health of the newborn
In a study on benefits of massage in pregnancy for depressed women, it was highlighted:
- the increase in the levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones of feeling good
- decreased levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress
- a general improvement in mood.
Studies conducted over the past 10 years have shown that in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones) were reduced and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression). These changes in hormone levels have also led to fewer complications during delivery and fewer cases of neonatal complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence strongly points to the health benefits for mothers and infants when therapeutic massage is an integral part of prenatal care.
Reduction of swelling
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is often caused by impaired circulation and increased pressure on the large blood vessels for the heavy uterus. The massage helps stimulate soft tissue to reduce fluid collection in swollen joints and improves the removal of debris from the tissues through the body's lymphatic system.
Improvement of neuropathic pain
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced poorly by many pregnant women; this occurs when the uterus lowers over the pelvic floor and lower back muscles. The pressure from the uterus spreads tension to the upper and lower leg muscles, causing swelling and putting pressure on the surrounding nerves. The massage benefits inflamed nerves by helping to release tension on the surrounding muscles. Many women experience a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.
Other potential benefits of prenatal massage:
- reduced back pain
- reduced joint pain
- improved circulation
- reduced edema
- reduced muscle tension and headache
- reduction of stress and anxiety
- improved oxygenation of soft and muscle tissues
- sleep improvement
Recommended massages during pregnancy
Massage therapy offers several techniques, one of them is called Swedish massage, which aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation, through light pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body. Swedish massage is the method of prenatal massage recommended during pregnancy, because it addresses many common ailments associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes induced by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Massage during pregnancy, expert advice
It is important to massage and moisturize the skin regularly and daily for all nine months. During pregnancy, the belly, hips, lower back, thighs and legs are more prone to stretch marks as these areas have to withstand the stress of the growing child. Thus, to avoid that the skin stretches and stretches with the formation of unsightly stretch marks, it must be hydrated twice a day with a specific product that guarantees its penetration deep into the skin. Remember that it is not necessary to apply a lot of pressure, just rub and massage the area several times until the product disappears from the surface.
It is also essential to exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin from the upper layers, replacing it with new cells, increasing blood circulation in the area and preventing the formation of unsightly. stretch marks. Experts say that exfoliation is as important as hydration to avoid blemishes.
We can exfoliate the skin during pregnancy:
- using a soft bristle brush on the body to get rid of dry and dead skin. The ideal way to do this is to exfoliate the skin from the legs by focusing on the areas most prone to forming stretch marks and avoiding the breasts because the skin here is very sensitive and delicate.
- After carrying out a thorough exfoliation, immerse yourself or take a shower bath in hot water (to open the pores) and use a vegetable sponge or natural fiber scrub to remove dead and dry skin.
- After the bath, remember to apply a moisturizing product all over the body to help the skin adapt to the natural stretching of the pregnancy.
Massage during pregnancy to avoid stretch marks
Stretch marks are caused by skin stretching as you put on weight, especially during pregnancy. All this is facilitated by pregnancy hormones that soften the fibers of the skin, facilitating the appearance of stretch marks. These skin blemishes usually appear as pink lines, with red or purple hues on the stomach, buttocks, thighs and breasts, and many times they appear only in the last two weeks before giving birth.
You are more likely to develop stretch marks if:
- she is a young mother, especially if she is a teenager
- she put on a lot of pounds during her pregnancy
- it is a twin pregnancy
- had stretch marks before she was pregnant, even if only on the breasts
- other family members have stretch marks.
Massaging the skin during pregnancy, as well as relaxing the mind and body, instills serenity in the expectant mother and it can be useful for preventing skin blemishes, if carried out with suitable products and by specialists. Also change your lifestyle, follow a healthy and balanced diet, which includes lots of fruits and vegetables, cutting down on foods that are high in fat, additives, salt and preservatives that cause swelling, is important for preventing stretch marks during the nine-month wait.
Massages during pregnancy, precautions
Here are the main precautions to consider when starting a course of prenatal massages:
- mothers-to-be first they should discuss the massage with their caregivers during pregnancy. The best way to deal with the risks of prenatal massage is to be informed and use experienced professionals.
Body position during prenatal massage:
- The pregnant woman's body should be positioned very comfortably, taking care not to put pressure on the abdomen and breasts, so soft pillows and padding are required.
- If the sitting position is indicated, the best position for a pregnant woman during the massage is on the side flank. Beds that provide a hole for the uterus to fit into are unreliable, can put pressure on the abdomen, or allow it to dangle, causing discomfort from stretching the uterine ligaments.
- Fundamental is seek out a certified prenatal masseur. Certified therapists have received specific training and know how to deal with the demands of pregnancy and sensitive areas of the body. They are also aware of the sensitive pressure points, pressure points on the ankles and wrists that can gently stimulate the pelvic muscles, including the uterus.
Women with the following conditions should speak to their gynecologist before undergoing a massage:
- high-risk pregnancy
- pregnancy with Induced Hypertension
- previous pre-term labor
- manifestation of severe swelling
- high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headache.
It is also good to know that many practitioners refuse to offer a massage to a pregnant woman who is still in her first trimester due to the increase in miscarriage statistics associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.