The trees and flowers aren't the only things blossoming! Your belly is changing right along with the season. Check out a few ways to have a fun springtime pregnancy.
Plant a tree for your baby.
What better way to mark this special time in your life than by engaging in the earth-friendly activity of planting a tree in Baby's honor? You'll love watching it grow right along with your little one.
Go to a park.
If you live in cold-weather country, chances are good that freezing temps and ice and snow have kept you indoors for much of the winter. (No preggo wants to slip and fall!) So take advantage of the warmer weather and get outdoors -- for exercise or even just a picnic in the park. Even more reason to spend time in green space: Recent research suggests that pregnant women who live in grass- and tree-filled neighbourhoods have better birth outcomes than those who don't.
Splurge on fresh flowers for your home. Research shows that people who surround themselves with fresh flowers or plants feel happier and more relaxed. Sounds good to us!
Skip the spring-cleaning.
Are you cheering yet?! We're not suggesting you give up on the regular tidy-household stuff like washing dishes and dusting (just use chemical-free cleaning products), but you should skip anything that requires heavy lifting or climbing a ladder. So leave the mattress flipping and outdoor window washing to your partner -- or a pro!
Best for last,
get a massage.
Anyone who's ever had a professional massage knows that both body and mind feel better afterwards — and the same goes for prenatal massage, which can feel extra wonderful when extra weight and changes in posture stir up new aches and pains.
Here’s what you need to know about prenatal massage:
Are massages during pregnancy safe?
Maternal massages are generally considered safe after the FIRST trimester, as long as get the green light from you practitioner and you let your massage therapist know you’re pregnant. But you’ll want to avoid massage during the first three months of pregnancy as it may trigger dizziness and add to morning sickness.
Despite myths you might have heard, there’s is no magic eject button that will accidentally disrupt your pregnancy, and there isn't much solid scientific proof that specific types of massage can have an effect one way or the other. Some massage therapists avoid certain pressure points, including the one between the anklebone and heel, because of concern that it may trigger contractions, but the evidence on whether massage actually can kickstart labor is inconclusive (to nonexistent).
If you are in the SECOND half of your pregnancy (after the fourth month), don't lie on your back during your massage; the weight of your baby and uterus can compress blood vessels and reduce circulation to your placenta, creating more problems than any massage can cure.
Another thing to keep in mind: While any massage therapist can, theoretically, work on pregnant women, it’s best to go to a specialist who has a minimum of 16 hours of advanced training in maternal massage. (There’s no specific certification, so you should ask when you make your appointment.) This way, you can rest assured you’re in the hands of someone who knows exactly how to relieve any pain and pressure related to your changing anatomy.
Finally, always check with your practitioner before receiving a prenatal massage — particularly if you have diabetes, morning sickness, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, fever, a contagious virus, abdominal pain or bleeding — they’re complications that could make massage during pregnancy risky.
Benefits of prenatal massage.
Research shows that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you're pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body. And it reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that's comforting if you sometimes wonder if there’s a baby in there or if an alien has taken up residence inside of you.
Research shows that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you're pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body.
And it reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that's comforting if you sometimes wonder if there’s a baby in there or if an alien has taken up residence inside of you.
During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping and sciatica.
Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn't a result of preeclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain, and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion — all common pregnancy problems. Massage may also lift depression without the use of medication, according to some scientific studies.
How prenatal massage differs from regular massage?
Prenatal massages are adapted for the anatomical changes you go through during pregnancy. In a traditional massage, you might spend half the time lying face-down on your stomach (which is uncomfortable with a baby belly) and half the time facing up (a position that puts pressure on a major blood vessel that can disrupt blood flow to your baby and leave you feeling nauseous).
But as your shape and posture changes, a trained massage therapist will make accommodations with special cushioning systems or holes that allow you to lie face down safely, while providing room for your growing belly and breasts. Or you might lie on your side with the support of pillows and cushions.
And don’t expect deep tissue work on your legs during a prenatal massage. While gentle pressure is safe (and can feel heavenly!), pregnant women are particularly susceptible to blood clots, which deep massage work can dislodge. That, in turn, can be risky. On other body parts, the pressure can be firm and as deep or as gentle as you’d like. Always communicate with your therapist about what feels good — and if something starts to hurt.
How much do prenatal massages cost?
The cost of a prenatal massage session is £50 for a 60-minute massage.