How Prenatal Massage Benefits Your Baby
March 23, 2017
Any mother or expectant mother who has experienced a professional prenatal massage by a licensed therapist knows that it can help alleviate pain, relieve stress, reduce swelling and promote relaxation. But massage also can provide multiple benefits for unborn babies.
Anything that an expectant mother does – good, bad, healthy or unhealthy – affects her fetus. In fact, a baby's most primary senses are functional even during the first trimester of its mother's pregnancy. Experts say that at 11 weeks, your baby's nervous system is producing upward of 250,000 neurons per minute and that his or her tiny body (except for the tongue) is fully capable of feeling touch.
So long as your activities and experiences are positive and healthy, your baby's will be too. But it's critical to understand that when you experience stress or trauma, whether physical or emotional, so too does your unborn. In fact, results of a 1994 study that monitored fetal blood levels of cortisol (known as the "stress hormone") found that boosted levels of the hormone remain far longer in a fetus than in a child or adult, lingering long after the traumatic event that prompted the increase.
That's why it's critical to take exceptional care of yourself throughout pregnancy, including minimizing stress of any sort – and that's where prenatal massage therapy comes in. Research invariably shows that massage therapy reduces stress and resulting cortisol levels; boosts levels of endorphins and serotonin, both of which reduce the sensation of pain and are associated with feelings of happiness and wellbeing; and improves blood and lymph circulation, which means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.
Another major benefit of prenatal massage is that it promotes bonding between the parents and their baby, even while still in the womb. This is particularly true beginning around 20 weeks into the pregnancy when an expectant mother first begins to feel her baby move. As the baby grows and becomes more active, he or she increasingly can feel touch via abdominal massage.
Benefits of prenatal massage continue right up through delivery. Research shows that mothers who have undergone massage therapy throughout pregnancy experience fewer labor complications and their newborns have fewer postnatal complications.
If you're expecting, give your little one the best start possible with professional prenatal massage therapy by Jacksonville's Elements of Therapy. Call our Intracoastal/Beaches location at 904-337-4159 or our Mandarin location at 904-619-1587 to schedule your appointment.