A connection of mind, body and soul during pregnancy
During the pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes some fundamental transformations, including postural changes, an enormous influx of hormones, weight gain, enlarged breasts, headaches, increased blood volume and the shifting of organs.
As the weight of uterus increases, there is a change in the centre of gravity. This can lead to increased curves in the spine as the body weight increases and centre of gravity moves forward in relation to the spine. If there is inadequate muscular support then the pelvis can tip forward, resulting in poor posture. Pelvic tilting is an important exercise to correct the increased lordosis in pregnancy.
Hormonal changes affect the ligaments and joints, especially the uterus, pelvis, knees, elbows, sacroiliac joint and symphysis pubis. Under the influence of hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and relaxin, the ground substance and connective tissues soften and stretch more easily. This often causes aches and pains and the joints are more susceptible to injury, particularly the knees and elbows.
Pregnancy massage can help to minimise and relieve the common discomforts like low back pain, sciatica, muscle aches, leg cramps, upper back pain and headaches.
Positioning during a massage is very important to the safety and wellbeing of both the mother and the baby.
Lying on the back is safe for some but it’s advisable to put cushions under the knees to facilitate this. It is essential that if the mother wants to lie on her back, she needs to lie on her side first to get onto her back and especially when coming back tomcatting, she must always go through the side position.
There are body pillows, wedge pillows and extra padding to make the mother comfortable when turning from side to side or when lying face down.
Light touch massage work on the abdomen is usually extremely calming and beneficial, and help to maintain energy flow and tone in this area. Gentle relaxing approach is best and only, if the mother feels happy about the therapist touching her abdomen directly.
Deep breath work and visualisation is vital through the whole maternity period and should be encouraged as well as moderate exercise regularly, particular in the all fours position. The focus should be on postural alignment using techniques which lengthen the lower back, tilting the pelvis and shortening the abdominal muscles as well as opening the chest and lungs.
Growing research supports the benefits of regular massage during the pregnancy, as a safe, drug-free and relaxing way to reduce and release undesired discomfort the mother may be experiencing. It can improve not only the mother’s physical and mental wellbeing but also that of the baby.
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