Many people have to deal with various issues after giving birth, including aches and pains like leg cramps and stomach cramps. Because pregnancy can impact the circulation, some even experience restless leg syndrome.
Though medications can help with these conditions, postpartum massage is a fantastic, natural way to ease pain, discomfort, and restlessness. It can also help new parents relax and reduce their stress levels so they can get the rest they need.
Those might be enough reasons for you to consider getting a massage following pregnancy. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at a few more benefits.
Improved Mental Health
Your body goes through so many changes throughout pregnancy. That includes fluctuating hormones. Even after you give birth, your hormones are all over the place, which can sometimes lead to general sadness or even feelings of anxiety or depression. The sudden responsibilities and changes that come with having a new baby can also contribute to feelings of overwhelming unhappiness, which is why postpartum depression PPD is so prominent.
In fact, while most parents experience the “baby blues” after the births of their children, about 1 of every 10 new mothers will develop PPD. This sometimes goes even further, to postpartum psychosis, with 1 in 1000 developing this extremely serious condition.
Massage has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, allowing you to let go of stress and have a few moments of self-care. It can also help you get better sleep at night. That might seem impossible with a baby, but when you’re finally asleep, you can enjoy a more restful night, so you’re not so anxious the next day.
It’s not uncommon for pregnant people to experience swelling during labor and for a while after giving birth. Afterward, getting a massage can help reduce that swelling by encouraging more circulation within the body and assisting the fluids in draining faster.
Too much swelling can cause discomfort, thanks to the impact on the nerves. So, if you start to experience a lot of it in your legs, ankles, or even your hands, a massage can reduce it quickly while providing you some pain relief.
Getting a massage after pregnancy is one of the best ways to get back on your feet quickly. The best part? You can continue to enjoy the benefits throughout your life.
Massage can help with things like:
- Strengthening your immune system
- Counteracting long periods of sitting
- Increased mobility
- Better joint health
As a new parent, it’s also important to note that regular massages can improve your skin tone. Those are two common problems mothers face, and they can be damaging to your self-esteem and mental health.
Depending on who you choose as your healthcare provider, postpartum massage could be the gateway to better care for both you and your baby. If you chose to be cared for by a provider such as a doula or a nurse practitioner, you are likely used to more personalized care from your healthcare professional.
You may even be receiving care from a holistic nurse. While it sounds as though holistic nursing is a new phenomenon, Florence Nightingale is credited as the first holistic nurse. The practice is basically what it sounds like: holistic nursing explores treating the patient as a whole, not just one particular ailment or condition. And holistic nurses often employ therapies such as therapeutic massage.
Massage is an intimate practice that can lead to stronger relationships with practitioners and caregivers. This can, in turn, lead you to be more open with your doula, NP, or even your doctor about the care you need or expect to receive. This is especially important for people of color, who often experience serious disparities in their healthcare. The stronger they can bond with their providers, the better care they are likely to receive.
You can also strengthen the bond with your partner through massage. If you are so inclined, schedule a couples’ massage with your therapist and make a day of it with your partner.
By aiding all three through massage, you can feel more confident and less anxious about who you are as a parent and as a person. Plus, because of the healing benefits of massage, you may end up needing less recovery time after giving birth. That will allow you to provide your full attention to your little one without feeling drained.
Regularly getting massages is a beautiful way to practice self-care, especially after having a baby. Take time for yourself to experience these benefits and so many more, and you’ll feel ready to tackle everything parenting has to off