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Why Massage in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of great change in a woman's body. As the function & structure of her body changes it is stressed. Simple acts are now more challenging. Her body develops tension & pain in new areas as the additional abdominal weight of the baby changes her centre of balance. Her stamina is maybe less as she becomes breathless at everyday tasks. Massage helps to relieve some of this physical stress.

Alleviating stress during pregnancy is is important. Stress hormones are able to cross the placental barrier, which in turn causes the baby to feel stress which can increase fetal distress while decreasing their well being. Stress can cause the baby to have an increased risk of being born prematurely and/or decreased birth weight . As for Mom, excessive stress can decrease the effectiveness of her immune system, leaving her more susceptible to illnesses. Stress causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and other complications possible during pregnancy. Stress increases nausea. Excessive stress can cause a 65% decrease to blood supply to the uterus. Excessive stress usually lengthens the birthing process with an increase in birthing complications. Excessive stress also increases a Mom's risk for postpartum complications. Pregnancy massage will decrease the levels of stress hormones and increase levels of 'happy' hormones. The question shouldn't be why massage during pregnancy but rather WHY NOT?

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

  • Increases awareness of body in space
  • Reduction of stress & promotion of relaxation
  • Relief from muscle spasms, cramps & pain, especially in the back & neck
  • Increases circulation of the blood & lymph
  • Supports the processes of gestation by supporting the work of the heart, increasing oxygen to the tissues
  • Reducing swelling
  • Alleviates stress on weight bearing joints, especially throughout pelvis & lower back
  • Provides emotional support & physical nurturing
  • Enables a return to the pre pregnancy structure more easily by helping to prevent permanent changes in tissue & support structures

The Pregnancy Massage Treatment
When a new Mom comes for her treatment she will be asked to fill out a health history form and to disclose any complications that have arisen during her pregnancy. Mom is asked to dress down to her underwear for the treatment, or she may wear nothing at all if she prefers. Mom will be draped at all times with a sheet, where only the area being treated will be exposed. The massage will focus on the areas that Mom has indicated she would like treated. Positioning for the treatment usually starts with Mom on her side, supported by several pillows until she feels comfortable. A second position called Cleopatra's chair, is sometimes used where Mom is put in a reclining postition, supported by pillows. Sometimes the therapist will show Mom exercises that will help with her discomfort. It is important for Mom to communicate clearly with her therapist to ensure the best massage for her needs. It is our hope to make Mom feel as comfortable as possible, while seeing to her every need.

Massage therapy during pregnancy is not intended to replace appropriate medical and prenatal care but to compliment them. There are a number of indications for massage in pregnancy, which addresses a women's physical and emotional needs.

Postpartum Massage
During the postpartum phase of motherhood women often experience discomfort physically & emotionally. Massage can help relieve the aches, pain & fatique. Therapists can help support the Mom physiologically & emotionally through touch & listening. With specific techniques therapists can help alleviate weakened abdominal musclature, headaches from neck strain, back and neck pain, & sore breasts. Massage also provides a quiet time for Mom, enabling her to rest without interruption, restoring her both physically & emotionally. Massage can also help to reduce or release adhesions on a Caesarean scar. Therapists can also show Moms exercises to help support the body to return to pre-pregnant conditions.