Massage during pregnancy can really help with niggly aches and pains. Because of the extra weight you are carrying it can put extra strain on your mid and lower back causing tight muscles between the shoulder blades and across the low back. Recent studies* into massage during pregnancy have shown a variety of benefits including
- reduced anxiety
- decreased levels of stress hormones (norepinephrine + cortisol)
- Improved circulation
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- can help to relieve muscle aches and joint pains.
If you are used to getting massages, you will find a couple of minor differences with a pregnancy massage. Depending on the size of your bump you may be able to use a pregnancy massage couch or a pregnancy cushion, which is design to accommodate your bump so you can lie on your tummy. Lying on your tummy feels amazing when you haven’t been able to in months. During late stages of pregnancy, the massage is usually performed with you lying on your side or sitting in a chair.
The level of pressure will also be slightly different to what you are used to. Because the relaxing hormone is surging around your system preparing your body for birth, the massage techniques used won’t feel as deep a pressure and use more myofascial release techniques to release tight muscles.
*Field, T. ‘Pregnancy and labour massage’, Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. Mar 2010; 5(2): 177–181
One of the most rewarding things you can do with your little one, infant massage classes are open to all caregivers, parents and grandparents. The first months of life are a time of extraordinary development and change for both you and your baby. Every day brings experiences that are new, demanding, exciting and very rarely predictable. This is also a critical time for your baby’s development because together you have begun to lay the foundations of your relationship that will last a lifetime. Apart from the benefits of the massage itself it also gives a whole host of extra benefits to parents.
Learning your baby’s verbal/ non-verbal communication and baby cues can help you understand your baby’s needs and eases frustration on both sides. Babies don’t come with an operating manual. They do come with guidelines in their behaviour, but these need to be decoded. Recognising your baby’s cues will offer you very honest information about his preferences and needs.
Bonding doesn’t necessarily happen instantly for everyone, the birthing experience can take its toll and sometimes bonding is delayed by weeks even months. Infant Massage gives you the time and space to interact with your baby in a special way that reinforces the invisible bond that already exists and helps you to explore and strengthen it every day.
The massage itself stimulates circulation and aids the digestive system giving relief to constipation, gas, colic and elimination. It helps with muscular development and growth, co-ordination and balance. It can aid sleep and being calm and the ability for your baby to calm themselves. Massage reduces stress hormones in both the giver and receiver of the massage increasing endorphins and serotonin.
Infant massage classes have a lovely social aspect to them, meeting other parents in your neighbourhood who are going through similar experiences. It gives caregivers the space to open up about problems they are experiencing and offers solutions that have been helpful to other parents. Sometimes knowing that you are not alone and that the phase is just a phase can be very helpful to parents who are adjusting to life with a new-born.
By Una Cashin, The Elbowroom “Dublin’s Favourite Wellbeing Hub”
32 North Brunswick Street
Stoneybatter, Dublin 7, Ireland
web: www.the-elbowroom.com tel: 01 677 9859