Face-Down Relief: Benefits of Prenatal Massage
Those who use Tummy Cradle can attest to its versatility. From aromatherapy to catching up on Netflix, there are all sorts of ways to relax in your Tummy Cradle without the weight of your pregnant belly causing an achy back.
One of the best Tummy Cradle activities is massage — receiving one, that is. Several massage therapists have begun replacing traditional prenatal massage tables with Tummy Cradles to use in their practices. Turns out Tummy Cradle and massage are a great pair for professionals and pregnant women alike!
Prenatal Massage Relieves Stress
Massages are great because they reduce stress, and we all know that expectant moms experience their fair share of that. Certain hormones, like cortisol or adrenaline, are the primary causes of stress, and while stress in moderation actually keeps us safe, regulating these hormones is also important to staying healthy.
Massage in all its forms encourages the body to release happy hormones, like serotonin and dopamine, in addition to increasing production of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. Not only does it produce the good stuff, but it also reduces stressors: clinical studies show that receiving a single massage for an hour and thirty minutes can significantly lower your heart rate and cortisol levels. It’s important to encourage hormone regulation when you can, especially as a pregnant woman — a woman’s hormones are already all over the place during pregnancy. Plus, it usually means a better night’s sleep!
Massage also allows you to check in with your body. Especially since you’re sharing the space with a growing baby, many women have found that establishing a connection with your body and your baby improves mental health and bonding.
Prenatal Massage Reduces Swelling
Edema, or swelling of joints during pregnancy, is a frequent cause of discomfort for expectant moms. Never before has your body felt so large and tight — it’s no wonder you’re a little uncomfortable on a regular basis!
The good news? Massage can reduce swelling, too. Edema is typically caused by the poor circulation that comes with pregnancy or the extra pressure a heavy uterus puts on your major blood vessels. According to the American Pregnancy Association, massage helps stimulate soft tissues to reduce fluids in swollen areas, increasing circulation of blood and reducing swelling. Increased blood flow can also relieve muscle tension by encouraging the even distribution of nutrient-rich oxygen and infection-fighting lymphatic fluid throughout the body.
Prenatal Massage Alleviates Nerve Pain
Responsible for sensory and motor functionality in the lower body, the sciatic nerve runs under your uterus to your legs. As a growing belly puts more pressure on this area of the body, women further along in pregnancy can experience periodic nerve pain, especially throughout their legs.
Massage is a natural and effective way to alleviate this nerve pain. It relaxes the muscles around your lower belly, which have likely become swollen and are putting pressure on your nerves.
A Good Massage Therapist is Important
Like with most things, prenatal massage has its risks — but they are significantly decreased when you take the time to find a specialized prenatal massage therapist. We’re sure you know that being with baby feels much different than being without, and a massage therapist should be able to confidently navigate the pregnant body. Though there’s no formal certification, look for a therapist with at least 16 hours of training in maternal massage.
Massage allowances are also dependent on the individual, as well as how far along they are in the pregnancy. Be sure to check with your doctor before booking a massage appointment.
Taking these precautions are the best way to ensure you get the most out of your prenatal massage — get ready to relax and find a connection with both your body and your baby!