Massage Therapy For Pregnancy and Postpartum
Physical and Emotional Changes During Pregnancy and Postpartum
Incredible changes happen to the human body during the pregnancy and postpartum period. Along with pregnancy comes an influx of hormones, relaxation of supportive ligaments, additional weight gain, postural maladaptations, and fluid retention. These emotional and physical changes can lead to depression, anxiety and postpartum depression; back pain; sciatica; pelvic girdle pain; carpal tunnel syndrome; and pelvic floor issues. These normal changes can produce pain which can range from slight aches to severe discomfort.
Massage therapy is a safe and effective tool to improve emotional well-being, decrease pain, decrease fluid retention, create sound pelvic alignment and help with postural changes from the very first week of pregnancy and into the postpartum period.
All Registered Massage Therapists in Ontario have received specific training in pregnancy and postpartum massage. With the aid of special positioning and propping, birth parents and their pregnant bellies feel supported and cared for while receiving a very well deserved massage. This care, extended into the postpartum period, allows for individualized treatment plans to support the ongoing needs of the fourth trimester.
Research from the Touch Therapy Institute lead by Tiffany Fields has shown Massage Therapy not only to decrease depression and cortisol levels of pregnant birth parents, but also will continue to decrease depression and cortisol levels in the postpartum period. Interestingly, this study found that the newborns of these parents had decreased levels of cortisol, increased birth weights and were less likely to be born prematurely.
Benefits of Prenatal and Postnatal Massage
Prenatal massage therapy is of most benefit starting in the first trimester as regular treatments will decrease muscle aches and pains; decrease fluid retention; support emotional well-being; promote sound pelvic alignment; and lead to better birth outcomes. With sound alignment of the pelvis, comes sound alignment of the fetus and ideally easier labour and delivery with decreased medical interventions.
Postpartum sessions support individualized postpartum recovery. Sessions can focus on decreasing muscle aches and pains from prolonged breast or chest feeding position, re-alignment of the pelvis, caesarean birth scar tissue treatments and enhancing relaxation and healing for exhausted parents. RMT’s with specialized training can also prescribe therapeutic exercise for the postpartum period to aid in the restoration of the deep core muscles, abdominal separation and support the work of pelvic floor physiotherapists.
Registered Massage Therapists naturally foster a healing and supportive environment where individualized choices surrounding pregnancy, birth plans, and parenting are honoured and respected. There may be no better way to take care of not only oneself, but also one’s new baby than receiving massage therapy in the perinatal period. Book your massage today via our online booking page.
Field, Tiffany & Diego, Miguel & Hernandez-Reif, Maria & Deeds, Osvelia & Figueiredo, Barbara. (2009). Pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birthweight and postpartum depression. Infant behavior & development.