Pregnant woman holding tummyWe all know that pregnancy has a challenging impact on your body, but how much do we understand? And how can you stay healthy and happy throughout this exciting time? This article helps to shed light on how pre-natal massage can support you, your baby, and your body.

Studies show regular massage during pregnancy reduces anxiety, aches and pains
Pregnancy has significant effects on your body, bringing about a range of aches and pains in places that have never hurt before! Studies show that women who invest in regular pregnancy massage have decreased instances of depression, anxiety, leg and back pain. In addition they say it can also help you experience less painful and shorter labours.(1)

Relieve the symptoms of low back and hip pain
As your baby grows during pregnancy, your joints are challenged by altered posture, muscular imbalances, and changes in joint mobility. As a result, you can suffer pain, particularly in the lower back and hips(2), difficulty with balance and reduced activity. As your pregnancy progresses into the second and third trimesters your muscles may also feel tight and tired. To counteract this regular massage helps to relieve symptoms by decreasing tightness in muscles and increasing movement in your affected joints.

Pelvic Pain
One relatively common condition is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). SPD is a series of uncomfortable symptoms caused by stiffness in your pelvic joints. During a pregnancy massage, I work to create space around the hip joints, releasing tightened muscles and allowing room for improved blood flow.

Daily activities may become more uncomfortable
Another side-effect of pregnancy that causes frustration in many women is difficulty walking or performing normal daily activities. Core muscle weakness can make basic movements such as getting out of a chair, car, or bed difficult. This may be exacerbated by weight gain and oedema (fluid retention) in the legs and arms. By using long, stretching strokes to the body, your immune system is encouraged to flow more effectively, which in turn flushes unwanted fluid from the limbs. In addition it increases the level of oxygen and nutrients to those over-tired muscles.

Techniques used are specific to each client
Your specific needs determine the type of massage techniques I use in a treatment and these may change throughout your pregnancy. Special care is taken to ensure you remain completely comfortable throughout the treatment. Women find that being in a side lying position, using cushions and bolsters helps them feel fully supported and relaxed. Massage is considered safe for most women after 12 weeks up to full term. I do a full consultation on your first visit to identify any issues which may require adjustments being made to your treatment.

1. Published in final edited form as: Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;