Massage on Danforth. “Massage and Pregnancy”: Benefits of Prenatal Massage
by: American Pregnancy Association
Studies indicate that Massage Therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health. Massage Therapy addresses different needs through varying techniques, one of which is called Swedish Massage.
Swedish Massage aims to relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure applied to the muscle groups of the body . Swedish Massage is the recommended massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal circulatory changes brought on by hormones shifts.
Studies done in the past 10 years have shown that hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are significantly altered when massage therapy is introduced to women’s prenatal care. This leads to mood regulation and improved cardiovascular health. In women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol ( hormone associated with stress) were reduced, and dopamine and cortisol ( hormone associated with stress ) were reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels were increased ( low levels of these hormones are associated with depression).
These changes in hormone levels also led to fewer complications during birth and fewer instances of new complications, such as low birth weight. The evidence strongly suggests there are maternal and newborn health benefits when therapeutic massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.