What if the thing your body needs the most, is also the thing that you can’t even dream of?
Hormonal changes, back-pain and finding a comfortable position are just some of the factors keeping pregnant women from getting good quality sleep.
During your pregnancy everyone is making sure you understand how important it is to “stock up” on sleep while you can, before your newborn starts calling the shots. Yet, night after night you find yourself struggling with a myriad of obstacles that make it impossible to rest and recharge properly.
The issues we see at our Clinic daily, that keep pregnant women from a good night’s sleep include, but are not limited to:
General physical discomfort (back-pain, neck pain etc)
- Hormonal changes
- Leg cramps
- Snoring and sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
All of these, in addition to having the impossible mission of finding a comfortable position, are making sleep a far-fetched dream.
What if the solution lies in selfcare? In this article we will explain how Pregnancy Massage can help you regulate your hormones, control your stress and emotions, and realign your body inside-out, so you can get the quality sleep you so desperately need.
Our Team has also put together some Self-care Tips that will enhance your sleep and prolong the effects of your Massage so you can enjoy the benefits during, as well as after, your session.
The Physical Aspect
Let’s begin by breaking down the problem and its cause. Every pregnancy comes with significant physical changes that are not restricted to the obvious ones, like the added weight, or the swollen limbs. The physical changes are deeper. The body produces hormones that impact every aspect of a woman’s wellbeing, while the additional load forces the body to adopt new movement patterns that result in newfound back-pain, neck pain, misaligned hips/pelvis, and heightened nerve sensibility that result in headaches and of course, intense discomfort.
The Mental Aspect
In addition to the physical strain, your mind is preparing you for the biggest challenge you are yet to face, with endless thoughts resulting in increased levels of stress and anxiety. Your hormones are introducing you to a new type of “blues”. And guess what, bedtime is of course the perfect time for complete surrender.
The Functional Aspect
At last, but definitely not least, the functional part. That’s where the tossing and turning to find a position that doesn’t hurt you, or the baby, tops it all up, making you desperate for comfort.
Although as humanity we don’t yet fully grasp the role of sleep, we all know that growth and development are dependent on it, and when it comes to growth, pregnant women are doing the heavy lifting.
During sleep, our bodies produce certain hormones, such as the growth hormone, that is responsible for the stimulation and regeneration of damaged and dying cells, which makes sleep the optimal time to heal, rebuild, and even grow.
Lack of sleep in pregnant women can affect both the growth of the fetus, as well as push the mother’s stress, and physical discomfort to a peak. Besides the direct impact, sleepless nights can also have a negative effect on the parents-to-be, as it can influence the mood and health of both partners.
THE SOLUTION: SELFCARE & PREGNANCY MASSAGE
Most people associate Massage Therapy to relaxation and stress relief. While this is true, it’s an understatement to the impact the right Therapy can have on our bodies. Some methods can help release muscle tension to get you back to your favourite sport, or increase blood circulation to speed up your post-surgery healing. Others will help you drift away and enhance sleep, or even realign your posture in combination with Physiotherapy, to reduce mechanical stress placed on our bodies and promote a long active life.
Prenatal Massage is tailored to tackle a number of issues faced by pregnant women, while it also prepares the body for birth. Carried out while the mother-to-be is laying on her side, or her back, to ensure to ensure the safety and comfort of both the mother and the baby, Prenatal/Pregnancy Massage or Mum-to-be Massage, as more commonly known, aims to:
- Ease pain and discomfort in affected areas like the back, shoulders, neck and limps;
- Open up the diaphragm to allow easier breathing throughout the day and during bedtime. This allows a better flow of oxygen to the body, which will in turn increase your energy, focus and eliminate headaches;
- Relieve swelling in the arms and legs, which will lighten your load and make movement easier;
- Release and prepare the birthing muscles, getting your body in shape for birth;
- Help you unwind and release tension, which can directly impact your sleeping patterns. Massage influences the production of serotonin, a hormone that relieves pain and is also essential for the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for triggering sleep.
During the massage, the Therapist can also use a pregnancy pillow for additional support, and/or raise your head to a height that keeps you comfortable. The treatment is always carried out using oils that are safe for pregnancy, that will soothe the body and hydrate the skin safely.
At Club Health we are seeing numerous cases of pregnant women facing various levels of discomfort and pain, at different stages of their pregnancy. On average, we see a 60 – 80% decrease in pain & overall discomfort within 4 weeks, with patients that follow a Plan of Care that consists of 60min Massage sessions twice a week.
While the relief is instant right after the first session, the results after a month of regular Massage Therapy are evident in every case. Our patients are reporting improvement in discomforts such as headaches, backache, joint pain, muscle cramps, sleep disturbances and anxiety.
TIPS TO ENHANCE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR MASSAGE
While regular Massage Sessions can unlock your sleep potential, going the extra mile and combining them with the Tips below, will change your pregnancy experience for the better.
Starting with the small things:
- A before-bed stretch and breathing routine will ease your mind and body and help you fall asleep, and most importantly, stay asleep throughout the night. If you don’t know where to start, you can try simple breathing techniques or come in for a one-on-one Clinical Pilates session at our Clinic. Our Pilates Instructors will prepare a short, easy routine for you to follow every night;
- Wash away the stress of the day with a warm shower or bath before bed. Warm water will increase your blood circulation, help you relax and prepare your body for sleep;
- Eat a healthy dinner, but try to enjoy it slowly to reduce your chances of heartburn. Eating an early dinner can also help, but don’t go to bed hungry. Eat a light snack if you need to eat something late in the evening. Something high in protein can keep your blood sugar levels steady through the night. A warm glass of grass-fed milk can help you feel sleepy, too.
- Lavender mist. Check with your doctor if any oils or smells can have complications on your pregnancy, and if lavender is safe for you, spraying your pillow with a bit of mist will have you dreaming in no time.
- Don’t watch the clock. It’s a surefire way to make you more stressed. And don’t just lie there, either. Instead, try doing something else to unwind (read, listen to music, meditate) until you feel sleepy.
Continuing with the bigger things:
If you’ve mastered the small things, it’s time for the bigger things that will elevate your lifestyle both during pregnancy and after.
- Combining Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy
An unbeatable synergy where one Treatment compliments the other. Prenatal Physio Care may include any combination of soft tissue manipulation, myofascial therapies, Webster Technique, or prescription exercise, aiming to relieve back and pelvic pain, shorten labour times and eliminate headaches and stress without the need of medication. It is 100% safe for pregnant women to receive Physio Treatment and it is recommended as a means to maintain a healthy, strong body in the long run.
- Regular, supervised, bespoke training
Personalised training with our experienced Practitioners can futureproof your body, release hormones, like endorphins, that will regulate your mood, and ensure your baby is growing in a healthy, strong body. This can be in the form of Private Clinical Pilates or Resistance training.
The benefits of both Physiotherapy and Training expand beyond pregnancy and birth. At Club Health our goal is to change lives by providing you with the right information, and building strong bodies & minds for life.
TAKING THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
Through a healthy body comes better sleep, and through better sleep, comes a better quality of life. We understand that every pregnancy journey comes with countless question marks. Our Team is ready to put your mind at ease by answering any queries you may have about Prenatal Massage, Physiotherapy and Training. Just click on the “Let’s Talk” button below and one of us will reach out.
We look forward to hearing from you, and becoming part of your journey.