Many women are drawn to the idea of massage during pregnancy. It can be used to relieve the associated aches and pains, as a form of deep relaxation, a way of getting in touch with both your body and your baby and to prepare for the impending birth. Massage is truly beneficial at this time and as practitioners we use very specific and safe techniques. Finding a comfortable position is important and I favour side lying with a pillow tucked between the knees, it is more comfortable for the mother to be and removes pressure from the lower spine and back as well as removing any risk of pressure on the abdomen and the growing baby.
I use a variety of soft tissue massage and stretching techniques to ease discomfort and pain across the lower back and pelvis, legs, the spine, shoulders and neck. Tightness in the muscles is released, restoring them to their normal function and range of movement, as well as promoting deep relaxation and helping with pregnancy related symptoms such as restless legs, headaches and heartburn.
Lower back pain is very common in pregnancy, this is due to increased hormone production and changes in posture as the weight of the baby pulls the body forwards and increases the lumbar curve. Try to support your spine and decrease backache by placing a small cushion in the hollow of your back when seated on an upright chair.
As your pregnancy progresses the body is preparing itself for the birth of the baby and hormones are released which make ligaments more elastic and childbirth easier. This has the advantage of making you more flexible than you might have been previously, but it can also mean it is easier to overstretch muscles and ligaments which can cause additional aches and pains. If you want to do an activity such as yoga it is recommended to receive instruction from a qualified teacher at this time. Other exercises such as running may be continued if this is something you did pre-pregnancy but, unless you are Paula Radcliffe, it’s probably not advisable to be taking up marathons! Swimming is good exercise too as it puts very little pressure on the joints but again be careful not to overstretch those ligaments.