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Abdominal massage for pregnancy

There are few times in your life when you are as concerned about your health as when you’re pregnant.  It becomes more important some how when you are not just looking after yourself but also trying to give your child the best possible start. Abdominal-sacral massage is a soothing and natural therapy that can really make a difference here from beginning to end.

Starting at the beginning abdominal massage can increase your chance of getting pregnant or drastically reduce your trying time. The massage does this in several ways.

One common obstacle to pregnancy is that the uterus can be tilted. The ligaments holding your uterus upright are very elastic so that when you become pregnant your uterus can expand without pain.  A very clever part of our body! However this also means that the uterus can become tilted fairly easily. Things like heavy lifting, horse riding, STD scarring or falling over can all cause uterus tilts and it is possible some are naturally tilted.  Whatever direction the tilt is in it will be putting pressure somewhere on the uterus which plays havoc with a healthy womb lining even if the tilt is slight making it harder to become pregnant or increasing the chances of a difficult pregnancy.  In severe cases the uterus can be so tilted it is actually folded over which causes infertility. A slight tilt may have no obvious symptoms but those that are more severe could show as painful or irregular periods or discomfort during intercourse.

Happily though with this massage the uterus can be gently encouraged into it’s natural position using a pain-free technique.  A slight tilt can often be corrected in one massage, and those that are more severe may take around two to three massages but either way they can be comfortably returned to the right place. Massaging the area in this way also strengthens the surrounding ligaments reducing the chances of the tilt reoccurring. These simple corrections that might only take an hour could reduce your trying time by months.

Scar tissue in the abdomen is another common problem that can effect fertility. This can block blood and lymph vessels and nerves and if unfortunately placed can also block fallopian tubes. Even keyhole surgery scars can cause these problems as while the visible scar on the surface maybe small the deeper tissues may have much more scarring. Poor lymph, nerve or blood supply in the abdomen can effect the health of the uterus and ovaries in a number of ways  that can often make it much harder to conceive.

This is a particularly common problem for women who have had a C-section. Women often find they have numb areas around their scar where the scar tissue has prevented the nerves from rejoining. In this situation it is likely that some blood and lymph vessels in the area are having the same problem. Thoroughly but sensitively massaging the area helps the body remove the scar tissue and dramatically improves the blood, nerve and lymph supply. Sometimes your body just needs a boost to help this process and by working on the area it is encouraged to continue the healing process rather than just stopping once everything is sealed.

Scars are generally reduced by a third after one massage and clients are taught and encouraged to do a self help massage to speed up the healing process. By reminding your body in this way there is still healing to be done the process carries on between massages which is why the effects can be noticed so quickly.

Muscle tension can have a similar effect on your reproductive system to scar tissue as it pinches off nerves and vessels or reduces their flow. Muscle tensions can be caused by stress, pains or poor posture to name a few but they can all have the same effect. Massaging the abdomen relieves the tensions and increases the all important supply to the area, which makes the uterus and whole reproductive system much healthier. Both the muscles and ligaments are strengthened which helps prevent further tension and any pressure that was put on the uterus or ovaries is relieved. This can also help with a number of other problems that are common during pregnancy which are mentioned below. The severity of the tensions and whether or not the deeper muscles are effective determines how quickly the massage can alleviate these tensions but teaching you the self help massage during sessions helps you speed up the process.  Performing this massage on themselves means that women are actively involved in the process of improving their fertility which can be very empowering.

A healthy reproductive system is just as important during pregnancy as it is before. The healthier your reproductive system is, the less chance you have of a difficult pregnancy or miscarriage. Improving the blood nerve and lymph supply to the uterus, relieving any pressure on it and strengthening the surrounding muscle and ligaments creates the best possible environment for the growing baby. The placenta can be much healthier when the uterus is working at 100% and the baby can receive nutrients easier. Improving the health of the uterus like this reduces the chance of complications and sometimes c-sections. As the massage also helps relieve muscle tension and digestive problems it reduces the chance and frequency of common problems during pregnancy such as indigestion and constipation which can make the experience even more enjoyable.

Abdominal-sacral massage prior to giving birth can also be very beneficial to a woman during labour. A problem that can be encountered is that the coccyx out of alignment. As your coccyx is not attached to bone at the end and largely surrounded by only muscle and cartilage so if you have ever fallen over on your bum, which many of us have done without a second thought, the coccyx can shift position surprisingly easily. It is very common to find the a coccyx is twisted to one side or curled out or in on itself. The majority of the nerves that feed the front of the abdomen run along your coccyx so if this has moved pressure is put on them and the nerve supply is effected. This can cause a large number of problems for the abdomen but is luckily easy to fix. Another issue occurs if the coccyx is tucked under as there might not be enough room for the baby’s head to emerge. This could be dangerous as the coccyx could act as a hook on the soft head so if discovered late this generally results in a necessary c-section to avoid problems. During the sacral part of the massage it is possible to determine what position the coccyx is in and correct it if it is in the wrong position through a series of unobtrusive stretches on the surrounding muscles. While not all of the massage can be done as effectively during pregnancy, especially in the final weeks, this part of the massage can be done easily on a pregnant mother as you can lay on your side while receiving it. If the coccyx is out of alignment 1 simple massage is often all that it needed to correct it and help avoid a possibly unwanted c-section.

As the massage also strengthens the deep and superficial abdominal muscles and improves the blood flow to them it can reduce labour time as well.

After the birth having stronger muscles and improved blood, nerve and lymph supply are an obvious advantage as this speeds up healing process. The muscles that moved to allow for the expanding uterus during pregnancy can retract quicker as the ligaments are stronger meaning that your original body shape can return quicker. Further massages at this stage can aid this process and you will be advised on how long it is best to wait before receiving the massage after giving birth. This is generally longer for anyone who has had a c-section.

So if you’re are trying to get pregnant or might start soon come and have an abdominal massage to give yourself the best possible start.

Jo offers Abdominal-Sacral Massage, EFT and Reiki here at The Wellbeing Centre. She is a herbal tea aficionado and is currently studying Herbalism.

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