One good way to release the stress out of the body is through a body massage. Massage is the act of rubbing or kneading the body to help enhance circulation, relax tensed muscles or maybe provide sensual stimulation. Massage and pregnancy has been taught to contradict each other thus leaving pregnant women burdened with body pains and overflowing stress. One assumption for this contradiction is that a massage, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, can lead to miscarriage. Is it true?
In some ways, yes, it can lead to miscarriage- but not all the time. There are many factors that can cause a pregnant woman miscarry her baby. It can be due to the structure of her womb or maybe the hormones running through her body. It is not primarily because of a massage. Research shows that having frequent massage during pregnancy can help women get through the pains of being pregnant. Moreover, researchers advice pregnant women to only get a massage from certified prenatal massage therapist to prevent complications.
Benefits of Having a Massage
Massage can reduce the stress level in the body; relieve body pains (e.g. joint pains and back pains); decrease accompanying symptoms of depression and improve labor outcomes. Today, there are a lot of massage techniques available just to satisfy the varying needs of people who opt for one. The best massage technique for pregnant women is the Swedish massage. This technique helps ease muscle tension, improve blood circulation and enhance lymphatic circulation. Here, only mild pressure is applied on the different muscle groups of the body. Moreover, this technique directly addresses the skeletal and circulatory problems that the hormones create in the body during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are known to have extreme mood swings. This is due to the spiky hormones in their body. To regulate these hormones, pregnant women can indulge in having a massage every other week. Studies have shown that pregnant women who have a bi-weekly massage for five weeks tend to have lower norepinephrine and cortisol level in the body. These hormones are the ones responsible for the tension or stress inside the body and play a major role in the fight-flight response during emergency situations. Furthermore, the level of dopamine and serotonin were found to increase. These hormones play a major role in creating the feelings involved in depression especially when they are at their lowest levels).
It is very common for pregnant women to have mild bipedal edema (swelling of feet). This is due to the weight that the uterus gives to the lower part of the body thus affecting venous circulation. When venous circulation is impaired, the blood tends to pool on the lower half of the body causing edema or worst, varicose veins. To enhance venous circulation, pregnant women can have a massage.
Aside from edema, it is also common for gravid women to feel sciatic nerve pains. This is true during the later part of pregnancy where the uterus is at its biggest diameter. Here, the pressure constantly affects the nerves found on the pelvis and upper leg. Studies have shown that a body massage can relieve sciatic nerve pain through releasing muscle tension. So, if one is suffering from the fangs of a sciatic nerve pain, a massage can definitely do the trick!
Last but not the least is the capability of a massage to promote good sleep. The ability of a massage to release relaxing hormones and relieve muscle tension can put any pregnant woman down to sleep. This is very helpful to those who find sleeping at night very difficult.
Before getting a massage, one should always seek the advice of the doctor and rule out contraindications. Women with preeclampsia, history of risky pregnancy, pregnancy induced hypertension, history of preterm labor, experiences severe headaches and who just recently gave birth should ALWAYS seek first the approval of their doctor before having one.