The body is continually shifting and adjusting during pregnancy. The point is to better make room for — and support — your growing child, but it also means that a whole variety of different aches and pains can (and will) crop up throughout all three trimesters. Finding relief for those uncomfortable and occasionally painful sensations can be particularly tough because of the limits on medications and other care. But here’s the good news: massage therapy is a safe and natural way to soothe your pregnancy aches. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good massage? Here’s how massage therapy specifically helps during pregnancy:
Muscle & Joint Support
As your baby grows, the increased weight of your child will increase the strain on your joints. This is a natural part of the process, but it does mean that your hips, low back, and leg joints will feel the added pressure. This shifting can cause your muscles, ligaments, and tendons work harder to do their usual job, which can cause them to press into your joints. This is a pretty common cause of ongoing aches. Fortunately, massage therapy can help those tight muscles relax, which will relieve the pressure on your joints. This also helps minimize issues with joint alignment to help with ongoing pain relief.
As your pregnancy continues, your center of gravity will continue to shift as your baby grows. The additional weight on your front will put more strain on your hips and low spine. Not only can that cause some aches and pains on its own, it can also affect your posture. Better posture will help you minimize aches, but it will also help you keep a better range of movement throughout your pregnancy. Better posture and improved joint support often mean fewer leg cramps and muscle spasms.
You may have realized by now that there are some pretty wild hormone fluctuations that happen throughout pregnancy. Both anxiety and depression are common during pregnancy because of the ongoing hormone changes. Prenatal massage is a good way to encourage relaxation and decrease stress. Regularly scheduled prenatal massages can help reduce the production of stress-induced hormones and help regulate hormone levels to help with feelings of anxiety and depression.
Massage therapy helps to improve blood circulation in general, but it’s particularly important during pregnancy because your heart has to work just that much harder when supporting a second life. Prenatal massage can help improve blood circulation, particularly in swollen areas where blood may be struggling to flow properly. As an added perk, improving blood flow can also help minimize or reduce varicosities (like varicose veins).
Water retention, or edema, is a pretty common effect of pregnancy. Prenatal massage helps stimulate the lymphatic system and flush out excess water. If you’ve noticed your feet, ankles, and calves swelling, prenatal massage can help flush out some of that excess liquid and reduce swelling.
No, we’re not talking about being able to bend over to reach your toes all the way through your pregnancy. Well, we kind of are. As your baby gets bigger, the added weight and strain on your muscles can make it more difficult to stay fit and flexible. However, keeping as flexible as possible is going to be important, especially when it comes to the labor process. Prenatal massage helps to relax your muscles and keep you flexible, which can help when it’s time to give birth.
There are even more benefits to massage therapy during pregnancy — just in case you aren’t convinced yet. Want to learn more? Visit Revelation Chiropractic in Fort Collins, or give us a call today.