Updated: Jun 4
Pregnancy is a very special time, but in our often fast-paced, busy lives it can sometimes feel less than magical. From fatigue, aches and pains, to anxiety and stress, various discomforts and complaints may be experienced.
In addition our bodies are changing fast and adapting to this can be difficult, not just on a practical front, but also an emotional - how do we feel about these changes? Added to potential anxiety about the changes in our life to come, pregnancy can be a worrying time.
So what can I do to help support you?
As a mum of six who has really struggled through some of my pregnancies (and postnatally) a key focus for me, as a complementary therapist, is supporting women through their pregnancy journeys (and beyond).
I offer specialist pregnancy massage (including manual lymphatic drainage) that can support you with:
Reducing tension, stress and anxiety.
Time and space to relax, reducing fatigue and tiredness.
Easing discomfort caused by the additional strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Improving your circulation, enhancing blood flow to your womb and entire body.
Improving lymph flow helping to disperse fluid retention and soothe tired, swollen legs.
Supporting your skin, bringing welcome additional nourishment and pliability through carefully chosen oils and gentle manipulation, plus the boost in circulation.
Has been shown to be beneficial for baby too.
Helps to prepare your mind and body for birthing and beyond!
"Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain."
Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynaecology 5 (2), 177-181.
Carrying a baby (or more!) leads to an increased weight load on your body, placing all kinds of strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Massage is probably best known for being able to help ease the tightness, helping to reduce levels of pain and discomfort.
In addition, massage helps to increase dopamine and serotonin, and lower cortisol and norepinephrine levels. This helps to reduce tension that can lead to headaches; tiredness and fatigue; stress and anxiety. Massage is a fantastic means of relaxing the body and mind.
Pregnancy also places an additional demand on your circulatory system, leading to swelling and general 'sluggishness'. Massage, particularly Manual Lymphatic Drainage, is particularly helpful at reducing swelling and helping improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients around the body.
Further more, it supports your skin as it is called to stretch and is affected by changing levels of hormones. It helps to bring welcome additional nourishment and pliability through carefully chosen oils and gentle manipulation, plus through the boost in circulation. As a qualified aromatherapist and Weleda Wellbeing Advisor I'm well placed to offer you advice on caring for your skin!
Pregnancy massage can be beneficial for baby too! As they grow, babies can feel gentle abdominal massage and may respond with a kick (or more!). Plus, studies have also shown that unborn babies are also affected by any stress that their mother is experiencing, so a relaxed mum equals relaxed baby.
Postpartum depression and cortisol levels were decreased in the massaged women. The newborns of the massaged mothers also had lower cortisol levels than the newborns of the control mothers, and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales.
Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynecology. 5 (2), 177-181
What Happens during Pregnancy Massage
Massage usually take place in the second and third trimesters (however, I can offer reflexology in the first trimester). You will need to check with your midwife first as to whether she's happy for you to proceed and if you are under consultant care a note of medical consent will be required before treatment can take place.
A comprehensive consultation will take place to assess your needs and ensure that the planned treatment is suitable for you.
Pregnancy massage usually takes place with you lying on your side, comfortably bolstered with cushions under your head, bump and between your knees as needed. You will be made as comfortable as possible. If you struggle with your mobility, please get in touch as I can look at ways to support you with receiving a treatment if you need additional consideration and find getting onto a massage table challenging (pelvic girdle pain being a potential factor), for example, seated and floor-based massage.
When looking for a massage therapist, please check that they are trained to at least Level 3 standard (eg VTCT or ITEC level 3 diploma), with additional training in pregnancy massage (as there are various additional considerations that the therapist needs to be aware of). In addition, some form of professional membership is a further sign that the therapist is commited to providing a high level of service and improving upon their knowledge.
As well as being a trained massage therapist (included on the FHT Accredited Register), I'm trained in pregnancy massage (plus labour and postnatal massage and reflexology) through Mama Baby Bliss and am currently studying a Level 4 (covering advanced massage therapy, reflexology and aromatherapy)l
Why not book your appointment now?
Further articles on massage and reflexology for pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period are planned. In the meantime, if you would like to ask any questions or chat about how complementary therapies can support you at this time, do get in touch (contact details in the footer).
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Field, T., Diego, M., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2010). Prenatal depression effects and interventions: a review.Infant behavior & development,33(4), 409–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.04.005
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Sriasih, N., Hadi, M. C., Suindri, N. N., Surati, G. A., & Mahayati, N. (2019). The Effect of Massage Therapy Using Frangipani Aromatherapy Oil to Reduce the Childbirth Pain Intensity.International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork,12(2), 18–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542573/
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