Pregnancy is a state of wellness associated with a women’s body adapting to foster and nurture the growth and development of a fetus. The changes that the woman undergoes enable her to bear a child while allowing her to continue on with her activities of daily living. Often people have a tendency to blow off their own health as expendable. This is a personal choice, but dynamics begin to change when others are affected by such decisions. Once considered an old wives tales, for two decades research has been backing the age old claim that stress can negatively affect child birth. The most notable of correlations between stress and childbirth are pre-term delivery and low birth weight. Statistically one in ten babies will be born before they are due! There is also an association between a child’s developed IQ being lower when the mother has had periods of high stress during pregnancy.
One of the changes the body undergoes in the first trimester is the connective tissue of the low back forming a support network that carries the extra weight of the fetus and stabilizes the woman’s vertebrae and pelvis. In layman’s terms, the body creates a sling of fibers to cradle the baby in a way that distributes the weight evenly as possible. After the woman’s body has established this structure, the massage therapist can safely perform deep techniques that target the lower back, buttock and hip muscles. A treatment aimed at these specific areas aids in relieving points of tension along the fibrous sling while maintaining the support of the expanding abdomen.
Massage therapy is a non-invasive and safe method of relieving the constant aches and pains of pregnancy while giving the mother a mental and physical break. Innovative pregnancy pillows now allow a pregnant woman to lay face down comfortably. This position allows muscles that are in a constantly overworked state to take a momentary, and much needed, break! The luxury of being positioned face down allows a treatment consisting of long relaxing massage techniques which are helpful in reducing the swelling in the lower limbs that plagues many pregnant women. The extra weight travels down from the abdomen to the last load bearing location, the feet! A relaxing foot massage helps to alleviate the mother-to-be of any distress, elevating her mood and mental state.
Massage therapy has been shown to relieve the physical pain that presents during all trimesters in safe manner. It also decreases the stress hormones within the body, relaxing the mom to be while potentially benefiting the birthing procedure and the future baby’s IQ. Either way, massage therapy is a win-win situation for the mother and child!