Caring for Change: Understanding Pregnancy-Related Body Transformations
A Dive into Pregnancy’s Effects on the Body and the Rejuvenating Power of Massage.
Published: August 26th, 2023 | By: Tom Newby | Read Time: 4 mins
Massage during pregnancy is something we specialise in at MMC. We take great pride in our ability to help women manage the various aches and pains that can arise throughout the process. If you’d like to learn more about massage during pregnancy at our clinic, you can find the dedicated page here. You can also book a session by clicking here.
This post will explore the details of pregnancy-related changes and their impact. The journey of pregnancy is a remarkable passage marked by profound changes within a woman’s body. Beyond the awe-inspiring creation of life, these nine months introduce a collage of fascinating alterations to key structures, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia throughout the body.
Starting with the legs, the hamstrings, situated at the back of the thighs, can experience tightening due to changes in posture and pelvic alignment. This tightness may indirectly affect the pelvis, contributing to discomfort and alterations in pelvic positioning. As the body adapts to the changes, the knees and feet also experience their own share of adjustments. The distribution of weight and changes in posture can influence the alignment of the knees, potentially leading to strain. The feet, the foundation of our body, may undergo changes in arches and alignment, affecting overall stability and comfort.
As the journey of pregnancy extends its influence upwards, the pelvis undergoes its own transformation; the sacroiliac joint becomes more flexible due to the hormone relaxin. This newfound flexibility, while natural, can sometimes lead to discomfort and instability. The gluteal muscles, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, play an essential role in maintaining pelvic stability, supporting the body’s adjustments, and accommodating changes in gait.
The centre of gravity shifts, leading to adaptations in gait. A wider hip stance and subtle adjustments in stride become the norm, which, although natural, can sometimes lead to joint strain and discomfort. The same gluteal muscles, maximus, medius, and minimus, contribute significantly to maintaining stability during these changes in gait (your walking pattern), ensuring a smooth and balanced movement. Furthermore, the hormone relaxin works its magic by rendering ligaments more pliable, influencing the stability of the pelvic region. This can lead to discomfort and a sense of instability.
In the back, the lumbar curvature deepens as the body adapts to the growing front load. This change, while incredible, can sometimes strain the erector spinae (long back) muscles, which provide essential support to the spine as you flex forward and extend back up.
The effects of pregnancy ripple upwards, impacting even the neck and shoulders. As the curvature of the upper back increases, the head may subtly tilt forward, creating strain in the neck muscles. Tension often takes residence in the trapezius and levator scapulae (shoulder lifting) muscles.
At MMC, massage during pregnancy typically aims to release tension in the key areas of the body using the unique Hydrotherm massage cushions. These cushions allow you to lie comfortably and safely on your back for the duration of your massage treatment. Our Hydrotherm massage treatments and training are provided by a qualified and practising midwife (who also happens to love massage herself!).
Mon: 11.00am - 9.30pm
Tue: 7.00am - 9.30pm
Wed: 9.00am - 7.00pm
Thurs: 7.00am - 6.00pm
Fri: 8.30am - 9.30pm
Sat: 7.00am - 9.30pm
Sun: 10.00am - 4.00pm
All appointments booked in advance, give us a call if you need to.