Any woman who is pregnant or has been before can report a list of discomforts that go along with growing a life. Unfortunately, the medical community doesn’t have a lot of advice for relieving the discomforts of pregnancy. However, research suggests that massage therapy during pregnancy can help reduce stress, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve joint and muscle pain, improve labor outcomes and even affect the health of your newborn. Consider three top benefits reported by women who have received massage therapy during pregnancy.
Hormone fluctuation during pregnancy can bring on many different symptoms, both emotional and physical. In fact, many physicians theorize that the increase in hormones is to blame for many gastrointestinal problems during pregnancy, such as nausea and constipation. Hormones also play a vital role in a woman’s cardiovascular health. Research has shown that hormones levels associated with relaxation and stress were significantly affected in women who included message therapy as part of their prenatal care. One study followed women who received bi-weekly massages for just five weeks. Their levels of stress hormones, such as norepinephrine and cortisol, were reduced, as well as their levels of dopamine and serotonin, hormones associated with depression.
Swelling is one of the chief complaints among pregnant women. Joints, especially ankles and fingers, often become swollen because of reduced circulation and the increased pressure your growing uterus puts on the major blood vessels. Massage therapy helps reduce the swelling by stimulating soft tissues. This reduces the collection of fluids in the joints and improves its removal by the body’s lymph system.
Decrease nerve pain.
Pregnant women often experience sharp sciatic nerve pain. Your expanding uterus presses against the muscles in the upper and lower legs, causing them to swell and press on the nerves. Massage therapy can release the tension in those muscles, providing relief to the inflamed nerves.