While being pregnant is a special time, it also causes changes in a woman’s body that can cause a variety of aches and pains, as the increased body weight often pulls the spine and pelvis out of alignment. Many women turn to chiropractic care for effective, drug-free pain relief. I also encourage my patients to consider massage therapy as an additional way to feel better during pregnancy. Here’s why:
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. According to the American Pregnancy Association, in women who received bi-weekly massages for only five weeks, hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol (hormones 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 newborn 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.
Massage also reduces edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy, which is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels by the heavy uterus. Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of fluids in swollen joints. This also improves the removal of tissue waste carried by the body’s lymph system.
And it addresses sciatic nerve pain, experienced by many women in late pregnancy as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back. The pressure of the uterus spreads tension to the muscles of the upper and lower leg, causing them to swell and put pressure on nearby nerves. Many women have experienced a significant reduction in sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy through massage.
A combination of chiropractic and massage care can serve to reduce pain and increase the overall heath of expectant mothers, letting her relax and focus on the more pleasant aspects of pregnancy. Expecting women who commit to chiropractic and massage care can look forward to a stronger body, the chances of a smoother delivery, and an easier recovery after the baby comes.
If you are experiencing aches and pains related to pregnancy, give our office at call today at 425-778-9600. We will develop a treatment plan that includes chiropractic adjustments as well as massage from our skilled therapist, Michelle Burke, LMT.
— Dr. Waldron