Importance of Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage – The effects of Relaxin on your body.
Motherhood is made up of many challenges. A changing body during pregnancy and a change in role post partum being just two of them. I offer specialist Pregnancy and Post Natal Remedial Massage appointments to address the imbalances in your body due to these changes – caused by something called Relaxin.
An expectant mother’s body will gradually change to accommodate the arrival of their newborn; from the obvious bump, to the less obvious tilting pelvis. These physical changes are caused by fluctuating hormone levels. Relaxin is an important hormone that causes changes to ligament strength; which is very useful for preparing the pelvis for birth, so the baby can pass through the birth canal with the least amount of stress possible. Relaxin has a ‘dark side’ and this can cause physical issues commonly in the upper/lower back, but other areas such as the wrist can suffer as well.
Relaxin is at elevated levels during the first and third trimester, and also stays fairly elevated for up to five months in bottled feeding mothers, and for the duration of breastfeeding in nursing mothers.
Why does Relaxin cause issues?
As previously mentioned, Relaxin is a hormone that weakens ligament strength, to increase the flexibility of the pubis symphysis (joint between left and right half of pelvis at the front). The trouble is the pelvic floor can be weakened as a consequence. This is an issue because the pelvic floor is part of the local core that provides support to the spine, preventing damage to it. A weak local core can lead to back pain and further issues.
Relaxin can also cause other joints to be more flexible. This can increase poor posture, pain and create poor movement patterns. Another downside of Relaxin is that it can also cause issues such as a weakness in grip.
What can you do as a mum-to-be or as a new mother to address these issues?
- You have heard it before but look after your Pelvic Floor! During pregnancy or post birth you should try pelvic floor activities. Your midwife or health visitor will gladly advise you on how to do so. Alternatively there are several pregnancy/post natal yoga, pilates or exercise classes that can join to make exercising a fun and social activity. A few local classes we can recommend are Springfield Pilates and Super Mama Fitness.
- Wear a sling/babycarrier. A correctly fitted sling can improve your posture and strengthen your core post partum. The caveat is that it MUST be fitted for you by a professional as they will put it in the most ergonomically viable manner. I would highly recommend seeking out your local sling library. Naturally Happy Families cover the Chelmsford, Witham and Braintree areas. They not only provide a place to meet other mums, the team of consultants will advise on the best designs for your needs – and your body!
- Use Kinesiology tape – such as Rock-Tape. We will be covering the impact of taping in a future blog, however it is hugely advantageous in both pregnancy and the post natal period. Get a certified rock tape applicator to apply the tape which will reduce the tension from your bump or in your back whilst you rehab your weak pelvic floor.
- Have a Post Natal Massage with a qualified pregnancy or post partum therapist (like me). I will work with you to rehabilitate your body. I will offer tailored advice, effective treatment plans and strengthening exercises. Regular ‘MOT’s’ will help prevent injury in the future.
If you would like to know more about the pregnancy and post natal services I offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Trained as a Sports Rehabilitator (MSc), I specialised in Pregnancy and Post Natal Remedial Massage following the birth of my first child in 2016. I am fully qualified in these areas following an intensive course by Burrell Education. My clinic is based in Chelmsford, Essex, and I can offer appointments 7 days a week and flexible to accommodate those with newborns and children. Book online today!