Massage during pregnancy is definitely a lovely thing to do – a Pregnancy Massage combines effective and safe techniques to give you time out, help you to relax, and is always organised so that you are sitting or lying in positions that are comfortable for you and your body with comfy cushions and fluffy towels. It is also a really nice treat from friends and family, and we certainly have spouses who buy pregnancy massage gift vouchers in order to gain brownie points during times of hormones and stress! But what are the benefits of massage during pregnancy? Why do doctors, prenatal groups, and health advisory services recommend massage during pregnancy? Well, here’re the answers…
There is a lot of research into Pregnancy Massage. A number of studies have been done in the last ten years, and these studies have slowly progressed into more quantitative research methodologies, complete with control groups and comparison relaxation techniques. And you know what? As the research gets more intense, massage still holds its own as a beneficial treatment during pregnancy, providing worthwhile benefits to women when they need them most.
So, read on for the Research and the Facts…
A study done in 2006 found that women who had massage in the last three months of pregnancy found labour easier, and complained less of pain – meaning less medical pain relief was required for women who had received massage than for women who had not. A 2008 study found that massage from 20weeks onward reduced leg and back pain, reduced anger and anxiety, and actually improved relationships with spouses. This was measured using a relationship questionnaire, so still qualitative data, but not opinions alone.
My favourite research study on pregnancy massage was published in the journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology (it’s American, thus the spelling!). This study looked at massage and women who were both pregnant and depressed, and how massage affected both the pregnancy and the depression, and the baby at birth! There were four groups of participants – women who received massage, women who received progressive muscle relaxation sessions, a control group of pregnant women with depression, and a comparison group of pregnant women without depression. This study found that the pregnant women who received massage performed significantly better than the other depressed groups, and sometimes even as well as the non-depressed comparison group. Pregnant women with depression who received massage were more comfortable, had higher serotonin and dopamine levels, and lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone). The babies of these women were less likely to have complications at birth, be born prematurely or underweight, and performed better in initial tests on motor function, habituation, motor maturity, and emotional state.
And all of this without even touching on general massage techniques, like Lymph Drainage Massage to reduce swelling and fluid retention and Reflexology to balance the body throughout and prepare for childbirth!
Massage during pregnancy is recommended by BabyCentre (theUK’s top pregnancy advice website), the American Pregnancy Association, and those are just ones you can easily google. Please feel free to check with your G.P. or Obstetrician if you are at all worried – we’re confident that they will recommend you spend time with someone with our qualifications!
We love to give Southampton Pregnancy Massage in our comfortable studio on Bedford Place and hope to be welcoming you (or your partner or friend) to our Southampton Massage Studio soon. What’s more…we offer a New Mum’s discount of 20% off of selected treatments! So you can get yourself another treat during your post-natal months!