Pregnancy brings many types of side effects, some of which are really very discomforting. For example, almost all the pregnant women experience muscular tension and stiffness during nine months, as the expansion of uterus occurs for accommodating the growing baby.
Discomforts during pregnancy can be treated in different ways. For example, there are certain medications that help in relieving stress and pain. Similarly, massage therapy has been found effective in dealing with muscular tension, stiffness and other side effects like headache and backache. Massage therapy given during the pregnancy is also called as prenatal massage.
Benefits of Massage Therapy During Pregnancy
Massage therapy offers many types of benefits during pregnancy. Unlike medications, there are no side effects of massage therapy. In past few years, massage therapy during pregnancy has become very popular because of the benefits if offers. Pregnant women do not have to take medicines for dealing with back pain, which occurs in most of pregnancies. In some cases, back pain can continue after pregnancy also and can be mitigated through massage.
Massage therapy also provides relief against swelling, which is also very common during pregnancy. Through massage, blood circulation at different parts of body is enhanced. Pregnant women have to suffer from leg cramps also, which increase as the size and weight of growing baby increases. Cramps and swelling in legs can be effectively reduced by giving leg massage. Pregnancy also leads to anxiety, which can lead to certain complications.
Massage therapy is helpful in reducing anxiety also. It is said that a pregnant woman must take sound sleep for ensuring proper development of baby. Massage therapy is effective in inducing sleep also. It is also helpful in treating insomnia, one of various side effects of pregnancy. In some studies, it has also been proved that massage relaxes the growing baby also.
One of biggest benefits of massage therapy during pregnancy is that it helps in reducing stress considerably. It is to be understood that stress activates the sympathetic branch of nervous system, which is very important for responding to emergency conditions. However, chronic arousal of this system can have negative effects on development of baby. If stress is not dealt with, it can lead to weakened immune systems.
Due to stress, blood pressure and heart rate are also affected. Due to decreased blood flow to uterus, growing baby does not get required quantities of oxygenated blood and thus, complications may arise. Due to stress, prolonged labors also occur, which also lead to different types of complications. Stress increases the risk of miscarriages and toxemia also. If a pregnant woman remains stressed for most of time, digestive disturbances and restlessness occurs. Even weight of growing baby can also remain low.
In many cases, stress has resulted in premature births. All these harmful effects due to stress can be avoided through massage therapy. Massage is helpful in regulation of hormones also. In many studies, it has been proved that massage helps in altering the levels of hormone that lead to stress. This also results in improved cardiovascular health. If a pregnant woman gets massage two times in a week for five weeks continuously, secretion of cortisol and norepinephrine is reduced.
These hormones lead to stress. Massage also results in increased levels of dopamine and serotonin. Low levels of these hormones leads to depression. Due to changes in levels of hormones inside the body of mother, chances of complications decrease. Massage therapy is also beneficial in providing emotional support and physical nurturance. Pregnant woman comes to know about the nurturing touch, which proves very useful for baby later on.
Sensory awareness is also developed due to massage, which is very useful in the first stage of labor. Massage also helps in recruiting right types of muscles during the second stage of labor, in which, baby is pushed out. Thus, overall length of labor gets reduced and so does the sufferings of a pregnant woman. If massage therapy is used regularly, dependency on medications and epidurals also decrease. Many health care providers also believe that if prenatal massage is given perfectly, it also decreases numbers of cesarean sections required for the child birth.
Massage also helps in dealing with the emotional and physical changes that occur in the body of woman after the birth of child. Through massage, many types of musculoskeletal complaints can be dealt with effectively. Postpartum massage is usually given within 24 hours of child birth. Many women suffer from depression after child birth, which can be treated successfully with massage therapy. Swelling during pregnanc is common and is caused due to reduced blood circulation.
Through massage, soft tissues can be stimulated for reducing the collection fluids in the joints. Because of massage, removal of tissue waste also gets speeded up. These are removed through the lymphatic system of the body. Thus, swelling gets reduced. Many pregnant women complain about pain in sciatic nerve in later stages. This occurs as the uterus rests on the muscles comprising lower back and pelvic floor. Due to pressure of uterus, tension is also spread to lower and upper leg, which leads to swelling.
Massage helps in treating inflamed nerves and reduces tension. As a result, pain is sciatic nerve is reduced. Though massage therapy is helpful throughout pregnancy, it is more beneficial towards the end of pregnancy. This is because it results in manageable labor. It also helps in strengthening the contractions that occur during the child birth.
Some Important Aspects
There are certain important aspects related to massage therapy during pregnancy that must be properly understood. First of all, massage should be obtained from an experienced and qualified professional only. This is because massaging of wrong areas or parts can lead to some complications. There are also some acupressure points in body and if these are stimulated due to massage, it may trigger uterine contractions, dealing with which is really very difficult.
An experienced and trained massage therapist is very well aware of these points and never attempts to stimulate these. Before getting massage, it is also necessary that health care provider or gynecologist is consulted. In some cases of pregnancy, due to existing complications, massage may not be advised. Very often, health care providers do not advise massaging of abdomen and lower back region.