Pregnancy is a joy-filled yet physically and emotionally demanding time requiring nurturing and support. Expectant moms experience unique changes during pregnancy thanks to increased weight, hormone changes and structural shifts. Massage and acupuncture are invaluable to all the challenges your body, mind, and emotions will encounter.
Prenatal massage helps to alleviate some of the physical discomfort women endure during these transformative months.
Massage therapists trained in prenatal work have knowledge of pregnancy and the anatomy of the pregnant women and pressure points to avoid during pregnancy. Even a mom-to-be in her third trimester will be comfortable and relaxed in a treatment. Body pillows, bolsters, and blankets support your body while the stress and fatigue are massaged away. Medical conditions could preclude one from receiving massage like risk for preterm labor or blood clots or clotting condition. Consult your physician before scheduling a treatment. Massage by a trained prenatal therapist does not threaten a pregnancy and is not a risk factor of miscarriage.
Some of the benefits of prenatal massage you could experience:
- Eases backaches, headaches, shoulder and neck aches that may be caused by muscle tension and shifts in posture to accommodate increasing weight
- Decreases pain in the pelvic/hip area
- Increases circulation
- Improves digestion
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves skin elasticity that can help reduce stretch marks
- Helps reduce swelling of hands and lower legs
- Can alleviate the stress on weight-bearing joints, like the knees, which are impacted by the weight of a growing baby
- Promotes relaxation and deep breathing
- Helps stabilize hormone levels by lessening anxiety
Acupuncture can be used to increase fertility as well as maintain balance during pregnancy and prepare expectant moms for labor and delivery. Because acupuncture is especially effective for chronic conditions, many pregnant women are turning to acupuncture to provide drug-free relief from many of the symptoms of pregnancy. Women undergo the biggest changes during the first three months of pregnancy. The body requires much rest and nourishment to promote the formation of all the body systems within those three months. The body calls on its reserve energy causing potentially weeks of fatigue. Addressing the lack of energy and need for nourishment through bolstering the body’s reserve energy and supplementing digestive strength through acupuncture and food therapy will benefit mom and baby. Optimal protocol is ongoing acupuncture treatments within the first trimester and the final 2 months of pregnancy. Benefits during pregnancy include those bulleted above as well as:
- Quells the symptoms of morning sickness
- Calms stomach reflux or indigestion
- Re-establishes equilibrium and reduces dizziness
- Stabilize symptoms of gestational diabetes
- Reduce leg swelling
- Promotes regulation of bowels and urination
- Can assist instances of threatened miscarriage
Both massage and acupuncture promote labor. Acupressure points avoided during pregnancy can now closer to the due date assist in softening reproductive muscles and opening the cervix. Acupuncture has been used to turn breech presentation, induce contractions, calm anxiety and reduce (not eliminate) pain. Many women receiving acupuncture prior to and during pregnancy have relatively easier and shorter labor because the body’s energy maintained balance.
Post-partum massage can facilitate the body back to pre-pregnancy shape – tighten slack muscles, ligaments and skin; facilitate healing of scar tissue; and align the pelvis, hips and joints. Acupuncture, in addition, can boost the immune system, increase lactation, reduce post-partum discharge, reduce hemorrhoids and constipation, and reduce symptoms of post-natal depression.
The relaxing nature of massage and the balancing and supporting ability of acupuncture allows pregnant moms to unwind, to feel serene, healthy, balanced and comforted during these joy-filled yet physically and emotionally demanding months.