As a massage therapist expecting my fourth baby, it’s easy for me to extol the benefits of prenatal massage.  We all know how good a massage feels after a long week or to celebrate a special occasion, but when your body is hard at work around the clock, growing a tiny human, therapeutic touch is more than just a “treat”.  It offers a dose of tranquility and relief to make the process of creating a life a little less taxing.

The expectant mother goes through a physical, mental and emotional transformation over the course of about nineteen months that often permanently alters her body, mind and spirit.  It is one of the most mysterious and miraculous events a human can experience.  Men also experience a similar transformation in the process of becoming fathers, although their bodies may not always show the same signs as their partner’s!  The care and attention an expectant mother receives plays an important role in the healthy development of her baby and in her own well-being.  Massage is a vital part of maternal self-care, both during and after pregnancy.  Here are a few ways massage can help.

1. Taking time to nurture ourselves directly affects our ability to care for others.

For expectant moms who have other children, the need to replenish ourselves is real.  We give so much to the people we care about and often put ourselves last.  The best way to make sure everyone gets what they need is to make our self-care a priority.  Taking an hour or two for ourselves when we have a list of endless demands on our time and energy can seem like a luxury, but really it’s an act of sustainability!  When we give ourselves permission to relax and feel cared for, life is just more enjoyable.  By taking the time to nourish ourselves, we are creating the conditions to be the best versions of ourselves.  Self-care is one of the best ways to prevent overwhelm and burn out from setting in.  It’s a worthwhile investment in everybody’s well-being.

2. Prenatal massage eases the aches and pains of your ever-changing body.

The physical challenges endured by the pregnant body are no joke.  We feel it in every part of our anatomy, literally!  Whether it’s headaches, neck and shoulder pain, a stiff lower back, leg cramps or swollen feet and ankles, no part of our bodies is immune to the effects of being a vessel for human cargo.  The tiny life growing inside can be felt in big ways by its hostess.  Getting massages helps to ease the discomfort, providing immediate relief from aches and pains.  And when your body isn’t in pain, you sleep better!  This translates into improved mood and a better quality of life.

Tucson Prenatal Massage

3. Prenatal massage floods the body with a fresh supply of nutrients and oxygen.

The kneading and wringing out of the body’s soft tissue actually has the effect of flooding the body with fresh nutrients and oxygen via the blood and lymph.  It’s a tangible process, literally! (This is why your massage therapist is likely to remind you to drink extra water after your massage- to flush out all the stagnant fluid that has been worked from your soft tissue.) And since the lymph carries hormones, when you flood your tissue with fresh lymph, you are washing away the physiological remnants of old feelings.  Perhaps this is why prenatal massage is credited with helping to regulate the endocrine system, reducing cortisol and norepinephrine, the “stress” hormones, and increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin, the “feel good” hormones.  No wonder we feel brand new when we get off the table!

Sidelying prenatal massage Tucson

4. Prenatal massage improves labor and delivery outcomes.

Aviva Romm, a midwife and herbalist who happens to be the president of the American Herbalists Guild, credits prenatal massage as a form of “passive exercise.”  In her book The Natural Pregnancy Book, she claims that getting massaged during pregnancy helps mothers to become more aware of their bodies and to learn to relax the muscles of the pelvis, which is essential for a smooth labor and delivery.  This may seem like a passive experience but it takes practice to attain this state.  We make an active choice to quiet the mind and “be in our bodies” when we are receiving massage.  By putting in the time to practice being in this relaxed state, your muscles are ready for action when it comes time to help your baby emerge.

5. Prenatal massage helps us to access a state of deep relaxation.

One of my favorite things about receiving massage, prenatal or otherwise, is the opportunity it provides to access deeper states of relaxation.  It’s the same state I’ve experienced during meditation and feels like a reset button for the nervous system.  Having the help of a skilled practitioner to find this state is like having a personal tour guide for your inner realms.  Only, the tour guide is actually yourself!  The practitioner, or massage therapist, helps create the conditions for unwinding by holding that space open for you.  After about 20 minutes on the table, I find the internal chatter starts to subside and by 60 minutes in, my mind and body have let go of the relentless “to-do” list.  After 90 minutes, that feeling of being a “new person” after a massage is not just imagined.  By investing an hour or more in the act of relaxation, I find I have shed the burden of being and doing that seemed to weigh me down before the treatment.  With a renewed sense of levity and buoyancy, life seems rosier, more joyful.

While all these benefits make it hard to deny the value of massage, it’s more than just scientific evidence that makes me want to schedule a massage for myself.  The act of intentionally slowing down and taking time to just be in our bodies is counter-intuitive to the hectic pace of life in our modern society.  But the rewards it yields speak for themselves. Self-care has never felt so good!

Belly Love

If you would like to book a prenatal massage for yourself or your partner, we would be happy to accommodate you.  You may visit our Prenatal Massage page to learn more about our service and even book a prenatal massage online.

Would you like to experience your prenatal massage with your partner beside you?  We also offer prenatal massage within a couples massage.  Just head over to our Couples Massage page for more information and to book online.

Charity Whiting Tucson Massage Therapist

About the Author

Charity Whiting is a pillar of our massage therapy team at Tucson Massage Company.  While she is currently on maternity leave, she expects to return to work by late September.  In addition to providing massage, she also did all of our landscaping, interior decorating and interior accent painting.  We are so grateful to have her on our team!