Pregnancy is time of transitions and change. This can be exciting in one moment and over-whelming in another. This creates elevated stress levels in pregnancy, stimulating the sympathetic branch of the autonomic system. What this means is that our primal instinct for “fight-or-flight” is set off. In an emergency situation, this keeps us safe. During pregnancy, chronic stress can have negative impacts on child-bearing and development. The body system’s response to stress during pregnancy may include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, suppressed immune system, reduced blood supply to uterus, and increase incidence of miscarriage. Prenatal massage can help.
Prenatal massage is used to relax the mother-to-be. In contrast to the sympathetic system, the parasympathetic system promotes relaxation of the body thereby increasing organ and body system function. The reduction of stress in the body increases steroid production. Steroid production during pregnancy creates balance in the body. This balance is characterized by:
- steady blood pressure and pulse
- steady respiratory rate
- regular blood flow to the uterus
- healthy immune system function
Swelling may be experienced at any point during pregnancy. This is due to the fact that the body experiences elevated blood volume by as much as 30% to 50%. Plasma volume and interstitial fluid (edema) increases by 40% resulting in swollen legs and ankles. Regular prenatal massage decreases the effects of these symptoms.
AT Moment of Peace Massage, we offer pregnancy pillows designed to support your growing baby while giving mom a moment to rest face down. In our years of prenatal massage, we have found that the most common tension complaints are in the upper back, hips, and sciatica pain, and along the side body against the ribs. We maintain safety for the low back by avoiding heavy pressure. We also understand that there may be a mental discomfort in resting face down. If mom’s preference is side-lying prenatal massage, we are more than happy to do so.