Pregnancy is a transformative time for both the mother and baby. As your body accommodates this incredible change, you may experience discomfort and tightness throughout the entire process. Prenatal massage is a safe and effective treatment that can greatly enhance your overall wellness throughout this journey. Our Houma & Thibodaux chiropractors are highly experienced in prenatal massage and will work with you to make sure that we address your specific needs during this exciting and significant time of your life!
The most common reasons to receive prenatal massage are to ease the back, hip and abdominal pain that often accompanies pregnancy. The bulky weight of the uterus changes your center of gravity, straining abdominal muscles and joints. In addition, the loosening of ligaments to prepare the pelvic floor for labor and delivery can result in achy lower back muscles. A trained prenatal therapist will know how to adjust the pressure and positioning for maximum comfort.
Additionally, the increased fluid retention associated with pregnancy causes many women to notice swelling of the feet and ankles. By stimulating circulation and reducing fluid build-up, this uncomfortable side effect can be alleviated with regular massage sessions.
Throughout the years, research has backed up the benefits of prenatal massage. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology found that pregnant women who received regular massage experienced less depression than those who did not. The study also showed that massage reduced anxiety and enhanced the quality of the mother-baby bond.
A more recent study in 2011 from the American Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Medicine reported that women who received massage during their first trimester had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. This reduction in cortisol was linked to fewer cases of insomnia and a better overall mood, which is critical during this stressful time.
The benefits of prenatal massage are numerous. One of the most important aspects of this therapeutic treatment is that it stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, or the’rest and digest’ response. When the body is in the sympathetic nervous system, it diverts blood and energy away from the digestive and reproductive organs in preparation for fight or flight – this results in poor digestion, heightened muscle tension, and low energy. Massage significantly improves vagal tone and switches the body into the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing it to send blood and energy toward healing and growing the baby.
In addition to improving circulation, prenatal massage can help relieve muscle pain by relaxing the muscles that are tight and overworked (often caused by a spasm in the piriformis muscle deep in the back of the hip) and by relieving the nerve impingement associated with sciatica. Lastly, it can assist with the onset of labor by encouraging your baby to get into an optimal position for delivery (whether they’re breech or cephalic). We recommend that you schedule massages every 4 weeks through week 27 of your pregnancy and then every other week until the end of your pregnancy or you give birth. If you need a prenatal massage therapist in Atlanta visit https://www.atlantachiropractor.net/.