Becoming pregnant is a wonderful time in a woman’s life where she is being initiated into the powerful realm of creating, protecting and delivering another human being into the world. To witness the many physiological changes that the body experiences over the course of approximately 42 weeks is astounding. It can also be confusing to some mothers that may not know what to expect of their body, especially if this is the first time being pregnant.
Every woman is different and every pregnancy progresses in vastly different ways, so it is so important to know a few of the most common changes new mothers experience and how Registered Massage Therapy can benefit the mother during this time.
Linda Ludwig, a Canadian RMT & educator notes that: “Pregnancy is a state of WELLNESS associated with many interrelated changes that occur throughout the woman’s body as the fetus develops”. This is an important statement, as pregnancy is often described as “difficult, tiring, stressful, scary”… but becoming informed and interested in the changes that are happening can eliminate so much of your fears as a mother.
Arguably, the number one benefit of receiving massage therapy, is that it encourages the recipient to be introduced to their mind/body connection, sometimes for the first time ever. Feeling many parts of the whole body and noticing different types of pains and emotions can assist in a more present pregnancy, while learning to relax and breathe and allow the body to welcome the new nervous system sensations is an integral part of the labouring and birthing part of pregnancy. In this, we can see how important it is for a mother to connect to herself, her baby and her body, in quiet, comforting moments, which is the genuine intent of the practitioner when providing Pregnancy Massage.
It is perfectly safe to be massaged during your entire pregnancy, but it is important to note that during the first trimester the mother’s body is very sensitive and is creating the optimal environment for the fetus to grow in, and it is suggested to avoid any direct work to the abdomen or low back until this trimester has ended.
Some of the potential benefits of prenatal massage include:
- Reduced muscle tension and cramping by increasing tissue oxygenation and realigning tissue fibers
- Reduced headache occurrence and pain medication requirement
- Reduced back pain caused by increased abdomen and breast size
- Reduced joint pain caused by changes in pelvic and spinal alignments
- Improved circulation and reduced swelling (edema) caused by an increase in the mother’s blood volume and compression of blood vessels by surrounding structures
- Hormone regulation leading to improvement of sleep and reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue
The RMT’s at evolve have extensive experience with pre-natal massage and use a side lying pillowing system to ensure you and your baby are safe, comfortable and fully supported during your treatment.
During the 4th trimester, or the post-partum stage of pregnancy, the body will be undergoing another series of changes, just as it did when the baby was in utero. Hormones are surging through the system to support the mother’s energy requirements, milk production is underway, healing from delivery or surgery can be a fatiguing back ground conversation, all the while the mother and child begin a new chapter, still together, but now as separate individuals. It is often said that these are the most important times a mother can reach out for her support system to help carry the body through the rapid changes of the post-partum season.
Some potential benefits of post natal massage include:
- Reduced breast discomfort caused by pectoral tension, milk engorgement, mastitis, weight gain, breast-feeding
- Increased circulation and nervous system conduction post epidural
- Increased mobility of tissues and faster healing times with post caesarian scar tissue care that can be introduced during the 4th week post-partum
- Hormone regulation & the promotion of a healthy emotional connection with the postpartum body which can reduce post-partum depression
There are many more benefits that massage can have on a woman’s body, and we encourage every mother to ask questions and to be open to learning more about creating a pre and post natal support team with the practitioners at evolve Nurturing Vitality. May we evolve in pregnancy together!
Tessa Ridley, RMT