Guest Blogger: Maia Wentrup, LMT, Massage Therapist, Simonds-Hurd Complementary Care Center, UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance Hospital
Let’s face it, ladies, we aren’t all the same. I know that we know that, but it never hurts to remember that in a world of uniform sizes and styles, we humans are actually really different, inside and out. So, let’s talk about pregnancy … every woman is going to experience pregnancy differently. And, here’s a fun fact, if you have more than one baby, you are likely going to have different experiences each time. It’s what makes being pregnant such an adventure!
Pregnancy is a huge time of change. Not only are you building a life inside of you, your own body is going through huge changes. Loving support and good medical care are two important and helpful things that a pregnant woman should have.
Let’s talk about something else that mothers-to-be don’t always think about – SELF-CARE! Yes, mamas, taking care of yourself is vital, whether this is your first baby or fifth, whether you work outside the home or not, whether you feel completely fine or not. We mamas are not always good about taking care of ourselves.
When it comes to self-care, staying hydrated is huge, as is following the advice of your medical team on staying active, but I want to talk about another part of self-care that more mamas can and should take advantage of, prenatal massage. Not only is it a fabulous way to make some time for yourself during the adventure that is pregnancy, it also comes with some amazing health benefits such as:
- Stress reduction and promotion of relaxation through emotional support and nurturing touch
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased blood and lymph circulation
- Facilitation of hormonal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary and other prenatal physiological processes
- Decreased insomnia
- Stress relief on weight-bearing joints, such as ankles, lower back and pelvis
- Neck and back pain relief
- Assistance in maintaining proper posture
- Preparing the muscles used during childbirth
- Reduced swelling in hands and feet
- Help developing kinesthetic awareness, flexibility and preparation necessary for active birthing
- Lessened sciatic pain
- Fewer calf cramps
- Reduction in headaches and sinus congestion
- May improve infant well-being
I think we mamas would agree that these are all pretty great benefits! Having one or two massages during your pregnancy is great, but to see these benefits in a significant way, you want to have prenatal massages at least once a month for the duration of your pregnancy – that way the progress can be consistent and you can maintain those benefits even as the quick changes occur in your body.
I know that you are all now running to the phone to make an appointment – but two more things you should know before dialing:
- One, make sure that you see someone with advanced training in prenatal (and perinatal) massage therapy. There are lots of considerations for a safe massage during pregnancy and you want to make sure your therapist knows about that sort of stuff so you don’t have to worry.
- Two, if you have any high-risk factors or complications with your pregnancy, have a conversation with your medical team before your massage, or better yet, have them speak to your massage therapist. Our main, shared goal is to keep baby and mama safe, so working together to do that is important.
Okay, so now it’s okay to call and make your appointment. Never be afraid to ask questions. Never be shy about telling your massage therapist about what you want and need. That hour that you are in that room is your time. Never forget that.