Maternity Massage 101: Everything You Need To Know

Safety and benefits of prenatal and post-natal maternity massage

By Swathi
Maternity Massage 101: Everything You Need To Know

What is prenatal and post-natal?

Prenatal

Prenatal is a term that is used to relate to the medical care that an expectant mother receives before the birth of the baby. If your pregnancy is a healthy one, then there is the tendency that you will have a healthy birth. Your chances of a healthy pregnancy can only be improved by the quality of prenatal care you receive.
 

In most cases, prenatal care commences even before conception by visiting a pregnancy care provider. However, prenatal visits should start immediately you suspect that you are pregnant. During such visits, the care provider will examine your weight, urine sample, and other physical checks. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, the care provider may take your blood samples in addition to ultrasound and imaging tests may be conducted.
 

Prenatal is very important to both the mother and the child because you will have discussions with the health provider on pregnancy issues and the health of the fetus. Prenatal care will help to prevent complications during pregnancy and childbirth; and will inform you of the steps to promote a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Post-natal

Post-natal occurs after childbirth. It is often related to women or infants after birth. Whatever care that the mother receives immediately after birth is referred to as post-natal. There could be complications immediately after birth, which is why the mother and baby should be offered a post-natal check and examination as soon as possible.

This examination should be given to the mother of the child within 24 hours after delivery. As a mother, you are expected to visit the care provider, preferably within 3 days after childbirth where you will discuss issues that will enhance your well being and that of your infant.

 

Post-natal massages are offered to the mother at this stage to relax the mother and increase her rate of body recovery.

Safety by Trimester

Exercise is a very essential activity for an expectant mother. It can hasten your postpartum recovery, relieve back pains, shorten labor time and decrease fatigue. Before you engage in any exercise during your pregnancy, you should know which one is safe for that stage of your pregnancy. Below are some exercises that are classed by your trimester.

1. First Trimester (0 to 13 Weeks)

At this stage, you should be engaged in walking and swimming exercises.  It should not be much, a 20 – 30 minutes’ walk per day is enough. You should avoid marathons and other contact sports until your baby’s birth. Try to avoid hot temperatures and never over work yourself. Taking some weight training will increase the amount of pressure on your abdomen and keep your breath smooth and steady. You can practice some breathe training which will prove very useful during labor. Kegel exercises and Yoga training will help prepare your pelvic muscles for delivery.

Food to be taken include beans, green vegetables, citrus fruits, dairy milk and dark leaves which are rich in both folic acid and calcium. You should include food rich in iron, fatty-acids and choline in your daily ration which are meat, greens, chia seeds, eggs and flax seeds.

2. Second Trimester (14 to 26 Weeks)

A balanced nutritional diet is needed in your second trimester. Get more of recipes that are contain iron, protein and calcium, vitamin D omega-3 fatty acids and fluids. You should eat more of lean meats, cooked seafood, eggs, beans, almonds, oranges and fortified cereals.

You can keep on with the yoga, weight and breath training, swimming, and running exercises but no marathons. Many mothers tend to have more energy at this stage however, there is a need for you to adjust in training as your balance will be affected by the growth of your belle. It is better if you sit during your weight training sessions and be more careful during yoga.

At this stage, your body will produce relaxin which is a hormone that prepares your body for labor which results in the weakening your joints. There is the tendency that you will sustain injuries like sprains and strains as your joint weakens. For this reason, it is important to take precautions when carrying out activities that can strain your muscles especially running.

3. Third Trimester (27 to 40 Weeks)

It will be important for you to limit your exercise activities or stop it completely at this stage. However, your situation in the labor room depends on your shape. The better your shape, the easier the labor will be.

You should not lie on your back since this may exert pressure on your blood vessels and can block the flow of blood. If you feel comfortable with the exercise as may be recommended by your physician, then you can continue with the swimming, walking, and biking activities.

An exciting food you should take at this stage is the papaya which is rich in folate, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Papaya can be used as a natural means of preventing heartburns.
Other foods include, nuts, fatty fish, and egg yolk.

Prenatal maternity massages

One way that you can feel relaxed during the difficult pregnancy period is by massage. The prenatal maternity massage therapy during pregnancy is a form of prenatal care which can ease your pain, fatigue, stress, and promote your overall health. Many of the natural discomforts that are common to pregnant women can be reduced by massage. That back pain, headache, stiff neck, swelling, and leg cramps which are usually associated with pregnancy can be controlled or eased by receiving prenatal massage.

The benefits of prenatal maternity massages can be summarized as below:

1. Reduces stress

Apart from the daily stress that comes with pregnancy, as an expectant mom you have issues like finances and health concerns in mind. The physical symptoms of stress such as increased pulse and tight muscles can be eased by a massage.

2. Reduction of muscular and joint pains

 Massage can help to decrease the pains in the joints and those from sore muscles. As an expectant mom, your muscles and joints should be flexible and on the ready for labor.

3. More Sleep

If your worries are increased, it will be increasingly hard for you to sleep. However, partaking in a prenatal maternity massage will help reduce your physical symptoms and make you sleep better at night.

4. Relieves a headache

Hurting head during pregnancy is because of the natural shifts in the hormones. Spending more time in prenatal massage will not only relieve a headache but will reduce its frequency of occurrence.

5. Reduce swellings

You might observe that your body swells more than normal during pregnancy. You are not to worry, because it can be reduced by a massage.

6. Improves blood circulation

One of the major benefits of massage over the centuries is its effect on the blood vessels. Massages improve your blood circulation and enable it to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, which is needed for the child’s healthy growth.

7. Reduces heartburns

Prenatal massage has been found to help with heartburns by reducing the pressure on the stomach and relaxing the nervous system.

8. Reduces nerve pain

Massage loosens the muscles and prevents it from pressing against the nerves thereby easing the pains.

9. Hormones stabilizer

The stress hormone cortisol can be reduced by prenatal massage and increases the feel-good hormone known as endorphine.

10. Hormones stabilizer

The stress hormone cortisol can be reduced by prenatal massage and increases the feel-good hormone known as endorphins.

11. Less risk of premature labor

Your risk of premature labor can be reduced with prenatal maternity massage because of the reduction in the level of cortisol.

12. Lower back pains reduced

There is the possibility that you will feel lower back pains as your center of gravity changes during pregnancy. This symptom which is attributed to the relaxation of the ligaments can be reduced with prenatal massages.

Post-natal maternity massages

The post-natal period is very crucial to you and the baby’s health. It is this period that the mother will recover from the experience of childbirth. The importance of post-natal maternity massage is to ensure that you are relaxed, strengthened and have a speedy recovery. Below are the top benefits of post-natal maternity massages for you:

1. Facilitate mental wellness

There is the tendency for the stress hormone cortisol to be increased after the experience of childbirth. If this hormone is not managed, it could take the mother into a state of depression. Massages help by calming your nerves and offer you the time to focus on your well being.

2. Reduces pain

Massages help to reduce pain and tension on the mother and allows you to have a comfortable post-natal period.

3. Speeds up the healing process

Massages increase blood flow to all parts of the body, thereby reducing swellings and helps in the elimination of bodily wastes.

4. Boosts milk production

The feeling of stress or lack of wellbeing can affect your quality and quantity of milk produced. A good post-natal massage will stimulate milk production by increasing the production of the hormone prolactin.

Conclusion

Your prenatal and post-natal period can be fun-filled and fulfilling if you receive adequate and timely massages. Massages help you to stay relaxed, which is needed for your physical and mental well being. Receiving proper massage is one of the most important ways to maintain good health for you and the baby before and after delivery. However, it is important to discuss with your therapist over the experiences you have with the massage and where you are not comfortable, let your therapist know immediately. Your therapist should also inform you if you are suitable to go for a massage session based on your trimester. If unsure, always check with your OB/GYN. 

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