It is no secret that pregnancy takes quite the toll on your body. It is normal for expecting mothers to experience musculoskeletal aches and pains, especially in the abdomen and back. In fact, most expecting mothers experience back pain, usually during the second half of their pregnancy.
Fortunately, through prenatal massage, you can help relieve those undesirable aches and pains, so you can get back to comfortably doing what matters most – preparing for your new bundle of joy. To learn more about how prenatal massage can benefit you, contact Integrated Physical Therapy today.
What should I know about prenatal massage?
Tailored specifically toward the needs of expectant mothers, prenatal massage aims to relax tense muscles, improve circulation, increase mobility, and ease pregnancy-related pain. It comes as no surprise that there are many reasons why pregnancy can cause pain, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Just a few of these reasons include:
- Increased weight. Women typically gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. This puts extra stress on the spine, since it is responsible for supporting your weight. The growing baby in your uterus also puts extra pressure on the nerves and blood vessels surrounding your back and pelvis.
- Separation of muscles. As your uterus continues to expand throughout your pregnancy, stress is put on your “rectal abdominis” muscles. These muscles run parallel to one another, from the rib cage to the pubic bone. With continued expansion of the uterus, it is possible for these muscles to separate along the center seam, in a condition known as “diastasis recti.”
- Changes in posture. When you’re pregnant, your center of gravity changes. To compensate for this, most women will adjust their posture and the way they move, sometimes without even realizing they are doing so.
- Changes in hormones. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone known as “relaxin.” This increases joint laxity and – much like its name infers – allows the ligaments and joints in the pelvic area to relax. This is your body’s natural way of preparing for vaginal birth; however, the relaxin hormone can also cause ligaments in the spine to loosen.
Prenatal massage can help with finding relief for all these causes of pain. There is a misconception that deep massage during pregnancy is dangerous; however, this method of physical therapy is extremely safe in aiding you toward comfort and relief. In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association,
“Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Massages during pregnancy have often received ambivalent responses from the health community regarding their safety and purpose. Modern investigation and research have shown that prenatal massage therapy can be an instrumental ingredient in women’s prenatal care and should be given careful consideration.”
How is it performed?
There are several different types of massage that our physical therapists are highly trained in conducting. The type of massage your physical therapist decides to prescribe will be based upon the severity of your pain, the location, and the cause. This may include:
- Deep tissue massage. This type of massage loosens up your muscles and their connective tissues.
- Swedish massage. This type of massage relaxes any stiff or tense muscles you may have, allowing for increased blood flow and fluid drainage from swollen areas.
- Myofascial release. This type of massage creates room for tissues that may be trapped by distortions or fascial adhesions, freeing them from constriction.
One of the many benefits of prenatal massage is that it helps facilitate the natural healing process of your tissues, allowing you to find instant relief and recover faster from your pregnancy pains and birthing journey. It works to relax, loosen, and mobilize areas that are causing you discomfort, so you can focus solely on the needs of you and your baby.
How can I get started?
If you’re interested in receiving prenatal massage treatments, contact Integrated Physical Therapy today to consult with one of our physical therapists. We’ll prescribe the best massage treatments for you, so you can comfortably continue your pregnancy and prepare for the newest addition to your family.