Pregnancy Massage in Dartmouth Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension, and prenatal massage therapy can be a key component in women’s prenatal care.
Massage therapy performed by a qualified therapist during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and even improve labour outcomes and newborn health.

Prenatal massage can address many common discomforts associated with skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy. A therapeutic effect can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including Swedish Massage, which focuses on relaxing muscle tension and improving lymphatic and blood circulation with the use of mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

  • Reduced joint pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced edema
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved oxygenation of soft tissues and muscles
  • Better sleep

Pregnancy Massage Can Reduce Stress Hormones

Studies have shown that the introduction of massage therapy into women’s prenatal care can help regulate hormone levels associated with relaxation, resulting in more balanced moods and improved cardiovascular health. Pregnant women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, experienced reduced levels of hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (“stress hormones”), and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased (low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).

Reduction in stress hormones and increased dopamine and serotonin levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of neonatal complications, such as low birth weight. Results of studies point strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits when expectant mothers incorporate therapeutic massage into their regular prenatal care.

Massage Can Lead to Reduction of Swelling During Pregnancy

Edema, the swelling of the joints during pregnancy, is a common symptom of pregnancy caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Prenatal massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints, which also facilitates lymphatic drainage and the removal of tissue waste.

Pregnancy Massage Can Reduce Nerve and Back Pain

Sciatic nerve pain is commonly experienced by pregnant women during the third trimester (late pregnancy) as the heavier uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The increased pressure of the uterus leads to tension in the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves.

Prenatal massage therapy helps resolve the resulting inflammation by helping to release the tension on nearby muscles. Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage.

Body Position Options Available During Prenatal Massage

Our experts can provide many safe and comfortable lying positions for pregnant women at any point during their pregnancy. Therapists are trained to treat pregnant women in side- or front-lying positions, using pillows and bolsters to allow a relaxing, supported treatment.

We have a specially designed bolster to allow women to safely and securely lay on their fronts, with the breasts and belly fully supported (not dangling, which can cause uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments).

Incorporating Massage Into Prenatal Care

The benefits of massage therapy can improve the overall physical and emotional wellbeing of many pregnant women; prenatal massage has been proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal health. Women with the following conditions should speak with a health care provider prior to receiving a massage:

  • High risk pregnancy
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Previous pre-term labor
  • Experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
  • Recently gave birth
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