Pregnancy, a moment in the tummy, a lifetime in the Heart!
‘Pregnancy, is a state of wellness associated with many interrelated changes that occur throughout the woman’s body as the fetus develops!’
by Linda Ludwig, RMT (Clinical Massage Therapy)
Changes occurring during pregnancy are physiological, affecting the musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones) and virtually every organ!
There are also emotional changes, with every woman adjusting to her changing body and lifestyle.
As Massage Therapists treating while patients are pregnant we are helping in the maintenance of your wellness, muscularly and emotionally.
First trimester of pregnancy musculoskeletal changes result under the influence of estrogen, progesterone and relaxin. Estrogen prepares the area for the action of relaxin which is produced as early as two weeks into pregnancy. This allowing the body greater elasticity enabling more movement in the joints and allows the abdomen to move freely as it grows. The most vulnerable joints are the ones surrounding the pelvis and in others which bare weight like the ankles.
Massage for First trimester, earlier on in the trimester you can lay on your stomach, but as you nearing the end of the first, you may not feel comfortable doing so, you are then given option to lay sideline for a massage with pillows to support and give more comfort.
As your belly grows and your waistline begins expanding to allow your baby and uterus room to grow. The muscles surrounding the area in the low back, hips and legs will need attention from the changes occurring. As the ligaments and joints become a little bit more lax and hypermobile, sometimes women can experience flat feet or ‘Pes Planus’ which also extends from the additional weight of the growing fetus, with this there can also be cause of pain and discomfort from your heels while walking or evening standing up, the body is trying its hardest to support the baby and changes, we can massage to help with the discomforts!
Second and third trimester, is when the fetus becomes big enough to cause some movement in mommy’s belly!
Edema in the limbs, is quite common during this time in most pregnancies due to the retention of fluid. Taking accurate blood pressure throughout pregnancy is vital because even the slight changes in position can alter readings, usually the best reading is while laying on the women’s back.
As the second trimester continues and the fetus becomes larger with time, sometimes the fetus can compress the aorta and inferior vena cava against the spine, which can then cause the female to feel faint when lying on her back, this is why in a massage, if you are laying on your back we like to prop up the right side of the back with pillows.
Backache is the most common with massage, as the ligaments and tendons soften and stretch to support the pelvis and lumbar spine, the surrounding muscles tend to spasm. The posture is also altered as the baby’s weight increases, moving the centre of gravity more and more towards the front of the body, which exacerbates the back pain. As the mothers body is trying to maintain the changing growth of the fetus and her own body changing, headaches in front of the head or over the eyes can occur from the muscular changes developing, so as the massage therapists we work through your body’s muscular changes to help relieve some of your symptoms.
Leg cramps, esp in the calf become more frequent in the last trimester which can be related to pressure from the uterus on the nerves and blood vessels to your legs; as well as pelvis discomfort due to the softening of ligaments and the extra mobility of the joints from the relaxin released.
Fatigue, Insomnia and restlessness, as the womens body becomes heavier, she may find it difficult to get comfortable in any position for a long time.
Massage for Second and third trimester, mostly is sidelying or seated, nearing the end of the treatment, some can lay on their back for a short period of time with the right side of the body propped up with pillows. Time is spent working on the musculature of low back and hips, as well as legs, arms and the neck. To soothe all the muscles, while you are caring for the growth of your baby.
Self care for mama’s after delivery,
Remedial exercise programs are recommended to restore postural alignment.
Hydrotherapy, is encouraged. Heat may be applied to aching muscles or cold can be applied for inflammation.
Relaxation, deep breathing exercises are important for emotional well being.