It’s easy to take the hardworking female body for granted during pregnancy, but it needs extra support during this time of change. At io, we highly recommend pre and postnatal massage to help women enjoy their pregnancy pain-free and prepare themselves mentally and physically for labor and motherhood. Women are notoriously bad at taking time for themselves, but the health benefits also extend to the baby: if it’s good for mom, it’s good for baby.
io CMT Susan specializes in pre and postnatal massage and feels honored to ease your body through the physical, mental, and emotional changes when preparing for birth:
“Whenever I perform a pregnancy massage, I feel the love and support from our extended ‘village’ coming through me. In a primal sense, bringing another person into the village is a blessing. I love seeing someone relax on my massage table, knowing their body is working so hard. My desire is for them to switch off, relax and receive.”
Your body needs extra care to cope with these changes:
“Although I was immensely grateful to be pregnant, I also remember the challenges from changes in my body: sore breasts, nausea, smell sensitivity, aches, sudden round ligament pain, edema, and someone sitting on my bladder while pushing up my lungs and stomach. It was all worth it, but the mama’s body deserves some extra love during this time.”
There is no need to suffer in silence from aches and pains, especially during the uncomfortable second and third trimesters – prenatal massage can manage and prevent these symptoms.
Prenatal Massage Benefits
Prenatal massage increases the happy hormones serotonin and dopamine and reduces the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine. The result is a calm pregnancy and easier birth for both mom and baby.
better quality sleep
Sleeping in a side position can put pressure on your hips, resulting in aches and pains that keep you awake into the early hours. Prenatal massage can help ease tight hip muscles for a well-deserved, comfortable night’s sleep.
reduced back pain
Joint and muscle pain from tight shoulders, an achy back, and painful hips can all be easily managed with specialized massage, especially if started early.
Pregnancy puts pressure on leg veins leading to vascular problems such as varicose and thread veins. Lymphatic drainage massage increases blood circulation, draining excess fluids that make the body swell and relieving swollen hands, feet, and leg cramping.
What to expect during a prenatal massage
Your io therapist will position you in a side position with your bump, knees, and ankles fully supported by pillows. Susan points out that the focus is on your comfort:
“I offer instructions on side-lying positioning with the pillow and body pillow, but find whatever position is comfortable for you - I recognize the need to wiggle around and change positions during the massage. I can work around any position - no need to be a statue on my account.”
Postnatal massage is more than just pampering: it speeds up your physical and emotional recovery and helps you come to terms with the changes in your body.
New moms often receive more support before birth than afterward. But your body needs help recovering after labor, and you need help adjusting to your new life. If neglected, moms can develop a breastfeeding hunch or lower back pain from misaligned hips. Susan stresses the importance of postnatal care:
“So much attention is paid to the new baby, but your body is still in recovery. Please be gentle and patient with your body as it finds its way. “
Benefits of Postnatal Massage
Taking time just for you helps relieve stress. Postnatal massage is the perfect holistic way to diminish baby blues - it’s hard to nurture if you feel exhausted.
Holding the baby, breastfeeding, and resting on one hip can lead to achy arms, a tight neck, or lower back pain. Postnatal massage can speed up your recovery after childbirth and relieve these tight, achy muscles – the sooner you start, the better.
High estrogen levels at birth drop sharply after delivery, leading to depression or trouble breastfeeding. Postnatal massage can help balance your hormones by working with your body to lower stress hormones and stimulate breast milk for increased flow.
Postnatal massage increases blood flow to speed up healing – a great way to nourish and repair a c-section scar. In between appointments, try applying In Fiore Tangiers Body Balm, a warm and uplifting blend of lemongrass, ginger, and tangerine to soothe muscular aches and pains and improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Experience the many benefits of massage with a visit to io before and after birth. As Susan says:
"Come to relax and renew in a quiet room where no one needs anything from you, and receive kind, gentle, and nourishing touch."