Having had two pregnancies close together I fully understand the physical and mental pressure pregnancy puts on a mother. I have two lovely children to show for it for which I am eternally thankful but I do remember the aches and pains and worry I felt at different stages. Massage helped me enormously and I also used aromatherapy throughout my pregnancies, choosing from a wide range of essential oils when needed.
Pregnancy massage specifically treats and relieves the muscular tension and joint discomfort that can accompany pregnancy. A prescriptive blend of oils and therapeutic touch also helps to improve circulation, regulate hormones and provides nurturing and relaxation for mother and baby.
•Backache often accompanies pregnancy, especially lower backache due to the increased weight of the baby and the changing shape of the body which increases the lumbar curvature of the spine.
•To de-stress mind and body – stress increases all anxieties about a pregnancy but can also lead to premature birth and low birth weight. It can also contribute to increased maternal heart rate and blood pressure, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, foetal distress and negative birth outcomes.
•Constipation and digestive upsets (indigestion) can occur due to intestinal displacement by the growing foetus.
•To identify and reduce tight muscles e.g. postural muscles, primary and accessory respiratory muscles – to bring awareness to breathing and posture.
•To improve blood and interstitial fluid circulation* – oxygenating the blood and encouraging waste product release from cells; thus improving nutrient flow to mummy and baby. *Interstitial fluid retention can increase by up to 40% volume in pregnancy and blood volume by up to 50% although this depends on the individual.
How can aromatherapy help in pregnancy?
Aromatherapy is even more important when the heightened sense of smell during pregnancy is taken into consideration. The olfactory nerve links directly to the limbic system in the brain (which governs our emotions and hormones). Essential oils can help treat:
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Morning sickness
- Oedema – swelling of the hands and feet
- Mood swings – hormonal changes that produce an ever fluctuating emotional state
- Stretch marks
- Varicose veins
When is it safe to have a pregnancy massage?
Generally pregnancy massage is recommended from 12 weeks because the risk of miscarriage is significantly reduced; however, this will depend on whether you have received massage frequently before your pregnancy and want to continue to benefit from it in the early stages of your pregnancy or upon advice/consent from your doctor, in which case it is a personal choice. I am happy to speak to/write to your doctor. Your treatment includes a detailed consultation to cover any of your concerns.
What to expect in an aromatherapy pregnancy massage?
A consultation to cover your pregnancy and medical history. I will then make a bespoke pregnancy massage oil for you.
You will lie on your side during your pregnancy massage with the support of one long pillow and one standard pillow in order. In my experience this position provides maximum comfort and prevents the uterine ligaments from stretching. The neck, shoulders, back and hip muscles can also be released effectively with deeper pressure if required.
I start a pregnancy massage on the left side and half way through change to the right, so can also massage the feet comfortably in this position. Side-lying on the left side promotes blood flow, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. I also avoid lying pregnant women on their backs in the 3rd trimester (as this puts pressure on the vena cava which returns blood to the heart) when massaging their shoulders and bump.