Pregnancy can be an exciting but likely very demanding time. Massage Therapy is a simple way to help to alleviate stress and labour pain, and improve your soon-to-be-born baby’s health while also reducing the risk of complications. The practice of massage therapy can help to provide these benefits and many more to you and your unborn baby.
How massage will benefit you during your pregnancy, labour and birthing experience
Studies support what more and more women are discovering about massage therapy during pregnancy – it has been shown to:
- improve maternal mood
- decrease depression and anxiety
- decrease pain
- decrease stress hormones in pregnant women
- decrease obstetrical complications, and
- improve neonatal health and development.
Massage therapy can be helpful through the labour and birthing process for similar reasons. It helps to:
- decrease pain in all three stages of labour (latent, active, and transition),
- reduce anxiety in the latent stage,
- reduce stress during labour
Massage therapy may also have other long term effects such as decreased length of labour, shorter hospital stay and less touch sensitivity.
Your newborn baby benefits too
A study published in the peer reviewed journal, Infant Behavior and Development concluded that preterm (premature) infants receiving massage gain 47 percent more weight, increase their bone density and leave the hospital sooner.
Common Concerns about Pregnancy Massage
Many people are concerned that pregnancy or newborn massage can be dangerous. Massage therapists are professionally trained to work with you to develop an effective and safe massage therapy treatment plan during your pregnancy that will compliment the care you are receiving from your doctor and other healthcare providers. Specially designed massage tables, ergonomic cushions and supports are available to ensure your comfort and safety during your massage therapy treatment. RMTs are also prepared to address the subtle needs of expectant mothers, including hte potential need for frequent restroom breaks, and the use of unscented massage oil so as to not aggravate the sense of smell. Good communication with your therapist will result in the most beneficial and rewarding pregnancy massage.
There is also a concern that newborn massage can be dangerous or damaging, but Registered Massage Therapists are trained to work with patients of all ages, including infants, and the benefits of infant massage have been shown in several studies.
Many women experience lower back and pelvic pain caused by pregnancy, as well as depression and fatigue, and massage therapy can be a great way to alleviate those symptoms.