Antenatal Anxiety And Depression

We expect pregnancy to bring about change to our bodies but you might be surprised to also be dealing with antenatal anxiety and depression.

Every pregnancy is different – from one pregnancy to the next, and from woman to woman.

It’s actually very normal to experience mood swings and a certain amount of anxiety when you’re expecting a baby. But some women develop a more severe form of anxiety or depression during pregnancy which affects their daily life. 

When this happens, it’s called antenatal anxiety and depression. While both these conditions are separate, they can overlap so we’re going to look at the causes, signs and treatment for both antenatal anxiety and depression. 

What is antenatal anxiety and depression?

Antenatal refers to the time during pregnancy, up to the birth of your baby.

Anxiety and depression are changes to your mood that are ongoing, overwhelming feelings which interfere with your daily life, and can’t be easily controlled.

Anxiety usually refers to a high energy, aroused mood, with feelings of restlessness, agitation or stress. Often anxiety is related to a concern that something terrible is going to happen.  

Depression is a low energy mood, with feelings of sadness, withdrawal or despair. Often those experiencing depression can’t see the point in looking forward to anything, let alone the birth of their baby. 

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health people experience today. PANDA reports every year in Australia anxiety occurs in around 1 in every 5 pregnant women and up to half also experience depression. 

While they’re not the same, anxiety and depression often occur at the same time and sometimes you can experience the symptoms of one and not the other. 

Everyone experiences antenatal anxiety and depression differently, depending on their personal situation. And yes, even dads-to-be can experience both anxiety and depression during their partner’s pregnancy. 

What causes antenatal anxiety and depression?

We don’t really understand what causes anxiety and depression in pregnancy to become such a problem. It’s thought hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the chemicals in the brain. 

Pregnancy brings a lot of change with it and while this can be welcome to many women, for some it is scary and overwhelming. 

Having a pregnancy with complications or previous negative experiences can also mean you are more worried and concerned than you might normally be. You’re more at risk of developing either anxiety or depression if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • A previous personal or family history of anxiety or depression
  • Difficulties in your personal relationship, including your partner or immediate family
  • Stressful life events, sucu as a death in the family, divorce or employment loss
  • Pregnancy complications, such as severe morning sickness or previous premature birth
  • Fertility issues or pregnancy loss in a previous pregnancy
  • Domestic violence, including emotional and financial abuse
  • Past history of sexual, emotional or verbal abuse
  • Isolation, either living remotely or a lack of social support
  • Financial difficulties.

It’s important to let your midwife or doctor know if you tick any of these boxes, so they can help you access support early on. 

What are the signs of antenatal anxiety and depression?

Anxiety and depression often goes unnoticed as the signs are put down to being a normal part of the hormonal fluctuations that happen during pregnancy. 

Symptoms can be different for each person, but some signs to watch out for include:

  • Feeling stressed, worried or on edge most of the time, often focused on fears around the baby
  • Panic attacks (heart palpitations, feeling of not being able to breathe, shaking or feeling detached)
  • Recurring thoughts that don’t go away
  • Developing obsessive or compulsive behaviours, such as hand washing or needing things to be a certain way
  • Muscle tension 
  • Feeling agitated and finding it hard to be calm
  • Being sad, low or numb constantly, crying for no obvious reason
  • Trouble getting to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Being tired constantly and having no energy
  • Changes to appetite, losing or gaining weight
  • No interest in connection with friends of family, or activities that used to make you happy
  • Mood swings
  • Being easily irritated and annoyed 
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or remember things (brain fog)
  • Risky behaviour, such as drinking too much alcohol or abusing drugs
  • Having thoughts of self harm, suicide or death.

The signs can develop slowly over time or they can begin quite suddenly. If left untreated, the symptoms of antenatal anxiety and depression can get worse over time. 

What happens if antenatal anxiety and depression isn’t treated? 

Living with anxiety and depression is exhausting. Lack of sleep, feeling restless all the time, or having a sense of something terrible is about to happen – these symptoms affect us both physically and mentally. 

Over time, if antenatal anxiety and depression isn’t treated, these feelings can affect how you live your life, as you try to avoid triggers to manage intrusive and anxious thoughts. 

It can lead to panic attacks or not being able to function, or feeling unable to bond with your unborn baby. 

Anxiety and depression can have a devastating impact on your health, relationships and quality of life, and in severe situations lead to self harm and suicide. 

Does anxiety cause miscarriage?

Health experts agree – too much stress and anxiety isn’t good for you and can have a severe impact on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health. This is a concern during pregnancy, as the wellbeing of your baby depends on you. 

However, there is no evidence which shows there’s a link between anxiety and miscarriage.

Can anxiety affect my unborn baby?

A little bit of stress is normal and our bodies have a wonderful coping mechanism that protects us from harm if there’s danger or potential danger. 

But ongoing stress and anxiety isn’t healthy, for you or your baby. Your own health can be impacted, and it can affect your ability to bond with your baby. 

Ongoing anxiety and depression can affect your baby’s growth and put you at risk for giving birth prematurely. 

Your baby is also at risk of problems with physical, mental and behavioural issues in the future as well.

How to cope with anxiety and depression during pregnancy?

Everyone who goes through antenatal anxiety and depression has their own experience and how it affects them depends on many factors. 

Some people have mild symptoms, while others experience quite severe symptoms, which means there is no single perfect treatment for antenatal anxiety and depression. Every person responds in different ways and what works for one person may not for another. 

It’s important to know you’re not alone and there is support available to help you get through. 

The first step is to talk to your trusted healthcare provider, whether that’s your doctor or midwife, to understand how anxiety or depression is affecting you during pregnancy, and to rule out any medical condition that might make you feel this way. 

The most common ways to treat anxiety and depression focus on increasing support around you. You may choose to use one or more of the tools:

  • Counselling – this can provide a safe space to talk through how you’re feeling and thinking with a therapist who will listen without judgement. Your therapist can work with you to develop strategies to deal with your challenges. 
  • Self care – massage, relaxation therapy such as meditation, and yoga are excellent ways to bring the mind-body connection into play in coping with anxiety and depression. During these activities, endorphins are released, which are hormones that make us feel good and enhance our feeling of wellbeing, triggering a positive feeling in our body. 
  • Medication – in severe cases of anxiety and depression, antidepressants may be prescribed to help you manage your symptoms to put your energy and inner resources into recovery.

Remember, if you’re suffering from antenatal anxiety and depression, you’re not alone.

Nurtured Birth offers pregnancy massage, prenatal yoga and meditation sessions to support you through these challenging times and get you back to feeling yourself. Please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

If you or someone you are close to is struggling with anxiety and/or depression, please call the PANDA National Helpline (Mon – Fri, 9am to 7.30pm) on 1300 726 306.

Baby Wearing – 6 Benefits You Need To Know

Baby wearing might seem like a recently new thing but parents have been carrying their babies for millenia. 

It’s a beautiful thing to have your tiny baby snuggled up close and safe to you, but there’s more to carrying your baby than the sweetness and comfort. 

Babies and parents benefit from baby wearing, in terms of bonding, convenience, sleep, as well as emotional and physical health. 

Let’s explore the benefits of baby wearing and how it has profound positive effects on both parents and babies wellbeing. 

What are the benefits of baby wearing?

Aside from the cuddle factor, there are a number of really amazing benefits from wearing your baby.

#1: Baby wearing promotes bonding

You may have heard the term the fourth trimester, describing the early months of life after your baby is born. It takes babies around 3 months to adjust to life outside the womb and we often refer to this time as the fourth trimester.

Your baby’s biggest need during this time is to be as close to you as possible, to be nourished and nurtured. In this snuggled up position, they feel safe and secure. They are close to your heartbeat, a sound they’ve heard constantly for many months. They are warm and snug, which mimics the sensation of being in the womb. 

When you’re wearing your baby, you adapt to their cues and are able to respond to them with confidence. Your baby learns to feel more secure as their needs are met. 

When you’re wearing your baby, you interact with them more and they with you. Even a tiny newborn can benefit from this close contact with you. As you go about your day, you talk and move and your baby is soaking in this exposure to the bigger world. 

#2: Baby wearing promotes health

Skin to skin after birth is more commonly promoted now, thanks to research recognising the benefits it has for babies, especially those babies born prematurely. Their skin and digestive system are colonised with beneficial bacteria from you, which lowers their risk of disease and illness in the future. 

But this closeness continues to have health benefits long after birth. 

Wearing your baby allows them to be in a more upright position, promoting digestion and alleviating reflux or colic. It also means your baby’s head can reshape after birth, preventing flat head syndrome – common in babies who are placed on their backs to sleep as is recommended. 

Being carried in this upright position helps babies develop physically and emotionally. The stimulation of their mother’s movements trigger their own physical responses, exercising the vestibular system that controls balance. Being held close to their mother’s body gives a baby the space to explore the world safely so they can become independent when they’re ready. 

Baby being in a carrier or sling also stops people from touching them, potentially passing on nasty viruses or germs. This cocoons your baby from the chances of getting sick, especially during a pandemic. 

#3: Supports and promotes breastfeeding

Most women in Australia initiate breastfeeding after giving birth but according to the statistics, only 1 in 7 babies are still exclusively breastfed by 5 months of age. 

Breastfeeding experts around the world agree – breastmilk is the optimal source of nutrition for babies until they’re 6 months old. After that age, solid food can be introduced and breastfeeding can continue until one year, or beyond if it suits the mother-child pair. 

Breastmilk is nature’s miracle food – it protects babies from illnesses such as respiratory and ear infections, diarrhoea, and helps to ease discomfort from teething and emotional distress. It also reduces the risk of chronic diseases and obesity in your child’s later life. 

Baby wearing can promote breastfeeding through close bonding – a mother wearing her baby is more likely to recognise her baby’s hunger cues, so will feed on demand.

This boosts her milk supply and encourages healthy weight gain in her baby. It’s also much easier to breastfeed ‘on the go’ if you’re out and about. 

#4: Baby wearing reduces crying

Maybe this benefit should be at the top! Parents of a young baby know how intense it is to cope with bouts of crying – especially when they’re doing everything they can to figure out what is causing the distress! 

Science has shown the more babies are held, the less they cry and the better they settle. But let’s look to indigenous cultures who didn’t need research studies to tell them this – in cultures where baby wearing is the norm, babies will usually only cry for a few minutes a day. 

Crying is exhausting for babies and their parents and it can cause long-term damage to baby’s brain if it’s continually flooded with the stress hormones released due ongoing distress.

Babies who are carried and feel safe and content during the day are also less likely to have crying jags of an evening. Babies who feel safer more continuously are less likely to have stress hormones promoting a fight or flight response that causes them to cry for seemingly no reason. 

#5: Baby wearing is convenient

Ideally, the first month after birth is a time for new mamas and babies to cocoon and spend that time just getting to know each other and transitioning as a family. 

But there are times when you do need to have your hands free and this is when baby wearing is really amazing.

Some babies want to be held all the time but it makes it tricky to get your lunch or give your toddler some quality time together. Pop baby in a sling or carrier and you can get on with your day. 

#6: Boosts parent confidence

Baby wearing mums and dads feel more confident as parents. The closeness of wearing their baby means they can respond to baby’s needs more effectively. This beautiful feedback loop means their baby feels safe and connects and responds to her happy parents. 

New mums often feel quite isolated when in the trenches of new motherhood so it’s important to support her ability to connect with the wider world. Baby wearing can help you to go for a walk, meet friends or even make friends with a local babywearing group. 

Just as importantly, baby wearing increases the time you spend doing skin to skin with your bub and research has shown this leads to decreased rates of postpartum mood disorders. 

Is baby wearing safe?

Like anything, there’s a right and a wrong way to wear your baby. If you want the benefits of baby wearing, you do need to make sure you’re doing it correctly. 

It’s important you choose the carrier that suits you and your baby, not just because your best friend swears by this particular brand. Do your research and join a baby wearing group to get feedback and see if you can try different styles and brands. You can even contact a baby wearing consultant for support in choosing and wearing your baby carrier. 

Make yourself familiar with the TICK rules for babywearing safety:

  • Tight: The carrier or sling should be tight with baby held high and upright, with head support. Loose material can cause babies to slump and restrict their breathing, and they can potentially fall out. 
  • In view at all times: You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply looking down, ensuring their mouth and nose aren’t covered and you can monitor their breathing. 
  • Close enough to kiss. Your baby should be close enough that you can lower your chin and kiss your baby’s head. Regularly check your bab, as they can in distress without making any noise or movement.
  • Keep chin off chest: Your baby should be in a good upright position with head support, so their chin doesn’t drop down, as this can restrict breathing. 
  • Supported: Your baby’s tummy and chest should be against your chest, and their back supported so they’re not slumping or curled. Their legs should be squatting (frog legs) not bunched up to their body. The carrier should be tight enough they can’t fall out, but you can slide your hand into the carrier so breathing isn’t restricted. Support your baby with one hand behind their back when you bend over, doing so at the knees not the waist. 

Always check your carrier or sling for signs of wear and tear, including any buckles and straps, and fabric seams. And make sure the carrier is comfortable for you too, as poorly positioned carriers can lead to back issues or injury.

New mamas wanting to connect with other mums in a safe, nurturing way can become part of the Nurtured Birth Postnatal Mothers Group, held over a month online. Please click here to register for the upcoming sessions.

Signs, Causes and Prevention of Stillbirth

Stillbirth is an extremely distressing experience for parents and families. The loss of a baby you have planned a future around causes pain, grief and shock. 

Often the cause of stillbirth is unknown, but there are things that can lower the risk of losing a baby. 

The content in this article may be distressing for some people. Please reach out if you need support in coping with stillbirth. 

What is a stillbirth?

When a baby dies any time after 20 weeks pregnancy up to the date of birth, this is referred to as a stillbirth.

The baby may have died during pregnancy or during labour. 

Sometimes, the birth is considered to be a stillbirth if the baby weighs 400 grams or more and the length of the pregnancy isn’t known. 

Stillbirth is different to a miscarriage, which happens when a pregnany loss occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

How common is stillbirth in Australia?

Australia is one of the safest places in the world to give birth. Yet sadly every day 6 babies are stillborn in this country. 

The risk of having a stillbirth is higher for certain groups of women, such as Aboriginal and Torres Islander women. 

What is the main cause of stillbirth?

There are some known causes of stillbirth but unfortunately why a stillbirth occurs isn’t always known. 

The most common reasons for stillbirth are:

  • Congenital anomalies, which are conditions that affect the structure or function of the baby’s body
  • Maternal conditions such as diabetes, preeclampsia or heart disease
  • Problems with the placenta or umbilical cord
  • Infections 
  • Premature labour that can’t be stopped and the baby is too immature to survive. 

Some risk factors can increase the chances of a woman having a stillbirth. These are:

  • Smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs
  • Being overweight or obese before becoming pregnant
  • Sleeping on your back in late pregnancy
  • Not having regular prenatal check ups
  • Infections 
  • Trauma to abdomen
  • Family violence during pregnancy. 

What are the signs of stillbirth?

The most common sign of a pregnancy loss is when you stop feeling your baby’s movements and kicks. 

Fetal movements are an important indication of your baby’s wellbeing. Most women feel their baby’s movements from around 20 weeks pregnant (sometimes earlier, sometimes a few weeks later).

The number of movements you feel increases until you’re around 32 weeks, then stays the same. The type of movement might change as your pregnancy progresses and baby gets bigger, but the amount of movement should stay the same. 

If you haven’t felt movement by 24 weeks pregnant, talk to your midwife or doctor and they can check your baby’s heartbeat and possibly refer you for an ultrasound. 

If you’re between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant and can’t feel any movement, speak to your maternity care provider immediately – don’t wait until the next day or your next appointment. You will have a full check up and monitoring of the baby.

If you’re over 28 weeks pregnant, again if you can’t feel any movement or your baby’s movements have slowed down, speak to your maternity care provider immediately. Fewer movements can mean baby’s not well but in most cases, check ups reveal everything is fine. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, please contact your maternity care provider or go to your nearest hospital emergency department:

  • Strong pain or cramping in your lower belly or back
  • Any bleeding or discharge that is more than normal for your gestation
  • You’ve had a hard blow to the belly
  • You feel dizzy, have severe headaches and changes to your vision
  • Any sudden swelling in hands, feet or face, or painful swollen legs
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Fever or high temperature.

Listen to your intuition – if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Maternity care providers would much rather you came in and had checks and find nothing is wrong than to wait. 

How is a stillbirth diagnosed?

If you or your care provider suspects there is something wrong, you will need to have some tests and checks.

The most common is to check for the baby’s heartbeat, which your midwife or doctor may do with a stethoscope or Doppler, or via ultrasound.

If no movement or heartbeat is seen on ultrasound, this is a definite diagnosis of the baby having died. 

What happens when a baby is stillborn?

It’s very traumatic to hear your baby has died. You will be supported by many people as you make difficult decisions in the coming hours. 

Your midwife or doctor will talk with you about the best way to give birth to your baby. In most situations, it’s recommended to have a vaginal birth rather than a c-section.  

The reason a vaginal birth is recommended is because you will recover quicker and better than from a c-section and are less at risk of complications. 

Some women choose to wait for labour to begin on its own, which usually happens within two weeks of the baby dying. Many women don’t wish to wait that long and choose to have labor started with medications. 

You will be given support and time to decide who will be with you in the room, any special things you want to have, if you want photos taken afterwards and so on. 

During labour, you can have pain relief if you want it. The midwives looking after you will support you and your partner in every way and you shouldn’t be worried about asking for anything that you need during this time. 

What happens after a stillbirth?

Once your baby is born, you’ll be supported to spend as much time with him or her as you wish. We know spending this precious time with your baby can help support you through your grief in the time ahead. 

If you’re scared or worried about being upset seeing your baby, talk to your healthcare team. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about what your baby will look like and manage the process with you.

Many parents are surprised how this concern disappears once their baby is born. 

Your midwife will help you to get comfortable after the birth, and you and your partner can hold, bathe and dress your baby. Many parents create keepsakes or mementos of this time, such as a lock of their baby’s hair, hand or foot prints, photos and videos. Some parents have a naming ceremony and invite family and friends to visit. 

It’s up to you how you want to remember your baby and the hospital staff will support your wishes. They will also organise the necessary paperwork to register your baby’s birth. 

When you’re ready, your baby will be taken care of by the funeral home you have chosen. You will be able to visit your baby during this time until the funeral takes place. The funeral home will treat your baby with respect and support you through this time. 

Finding out why your baby died

Most parents want to know if there was a specific cause of death. In some cases, this might already be known, but it may be suggested to have some tests to see if the reason for the stillbirth can be discovered. 

These tests can involve:

  • Blood taken from the mother
  • Autopsy of the baby
  • Examination of the placenta.

You don’t have to agree to any of these tests, or only some, but it may be helpful to know any information these tests can discover. 

It’s important to know these tests may not give you a definite answer as to why your baby was stillborn. This can be very distressing and your healthcare team will support you as much as possible. 

The grief experienced after stillbirth can be very isolating and consuming. You can access grief counselling services or contact Sands Australia for 24 hours support on 1300 072 637. Still Aware is a stillbirth awareness organisation which offers support to parents and health professionals. 

Having another baby after stillbirth

It takes time for your body to return to a pre-pregnant state after stillbirth. Shortly after birth, your breasts will be sore and your milk will come in. This can be a very distressing reminder of your loss and many women feel incredibly emotional at this time. Some mothers chose to dry their milk up quickly, others wish to donate their milk to babies in need. The choice you make is the right one for you and your situation. 

In time, you may begin to think about having another baby. It’s normal to feel conflicted about this and even guilty. It doesn’t mean you have moved on from your baby or have forgotten them.

Make sure you have support and guidance from your midwife or doctor about being prepared for another pregnancy. 

Nurtured Birth offers support during pregnancy and birth for parents experiencing stillbirth or want to explore options for care during a pregnancy after stillbirth. Please contact us for more information. 

Traditional care for the modern mother in her first forty days. By The Golden Month

Traditional care for the modern mother in her first forty days.

Around the world, in many traditional cultures, the first 4-6 weeks after giving birth is known as the golden month – the time for a mother to rest and replenish. 

This is the postpartum or postnatal period, when her body recovers from pregnancy and birth and she adjusts to motherhood in all its rewarding and challenging phases. 

The golden month is a time to make the new mother the focus, ensuring the key ingredients of care include rest, nourishment, treatments that promote healing, and strong support. 

Nurtured Birth believes in the power of support and nourishment to aid a new mother’s transition into this new phase of her life. Which is why we are excited to team up with The Golden Month, who offer a holistic in-home postpartum service, as well as nourishing products to promote rest and healing for new mothers. 

A mother is born

There is a saying: “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” 

In today’s modern society, a new mother is overlooked as her newborn is the focus of everyone’s attention. She deals with the physical and emotional changes of new motherhood in the background, with little focus on her needs as she navigates the sleep deprivation, painful breasts and heightened emotions. 

While family and friends swoop in to cuddle and admire this tiny perfect human, a new mother is on a very steep learning curve getting to know her baby and herself as a mama. There is little acknowledgement of what she has done – created and birthed this beautiful little miracle. And once everyone has had a cuddle, she’s left to navigate this transition to motherhood alone. 

It takes a village to raise a child

In Africa, it’s believed the whole village or community of people must interact with children for them to grow in a healthy and safe environment. While it’s possible to raise children without having support, it’s definitely much easier when family and friends are there to help. 

Humans evolved to live in groups or communities because it was safer, providing protection to old and young members. Babies and mothers were tended and supported by others who offered knowledge, guidance and wisdom. 

Today’s modern family is a different experience and our villages are almost non-existent. Many new mums are left to cope with a new baby and the expectation that she can manage all the home and family responsibilities without blinking an eye. The village is spread across the country, or works full time, and so new mums have no one to lean on when support is needed. This is when postnatal depletion can really take hold, leaving mamas exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. 

This is where postnatal support is so important, offering new mums a space for her to land gently, to be nourished and cherished while she finds her feet slowly. Recreating the village for each woman and honouring her journey to new ground as a mother. 

The Golden Month provides holistic tradition care in the postpartum period, supporting mothers and families in the early days and weeks after childbirth.

About The Golden Month

We are mothers caring for mothers … We have a passion for caring for women at each stage of life’s journey.

Over time, in clinic we have both noticed that mothers are becoming more and more depleted, stressed and isolated.

This not only deeply impacts the mother, but her children, family & community. In countries all over the world, women are cared for in a unique way after childbirth.

Unfortunately in our country this care is not yet a part of our culture … So we are here to break the mould, shake things up & bring women the care that they really need. It takes a village to hold the mother.

We have created an in-home, postpartum service, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic practices. Tapping into nature, using all things natural to support new mums. We allow time for mother to bath & nap whilst we care for baby & stock the fridge with nourishing foods. Our meals are specifically made to heal mother, warm her body, and help with milk production.

We want to be remembered by all the women we are here to hold + nurture. We want to be the two Adelaide Mama’s who helped to re-shape the postpartum care in their community, for our daughters & their daughters to come.

Use our affiliate code ‘nurturedbirth1’  at check out at The Golden Month online store to receive 10% off any Golden Month purchase. 

Visit The Golden Month's Website

Massage For Dads – 7 Amazing Benefits Of Massage For Dads

Massage is often something we associate with women or mums. But there are so many wonderful benefits of massage for dads too! 

Becoming a parent is a huge transition and can really have an impact on both the physical and mental wellbeing of both mums and dads. 

A massage is an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated, supporting dads to get back into the parenting game re-energised and refreshed. 

A dad is the first significant male role model a child has and helps to set the tone for all other relationships in their lifetime. Dads play, teach, coach and guide children from infancy through to adulthood, often while working hard outside the home.

It’s easy to forget that dads deserve some self-care time too. 

A professional massage is the perfect way to gift a dad some space to unwind and recharge, with the extra benefit of boosting his health and wellbeing.

Need any more incentives to book a massage for a special dad? Here are 7 benefits of massage for dads:

#1: Boosts mood

Research has shown massage has a very positive mood boosting effect. It reduces levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, responsible for the fight-flight response in our nervous system. Lower levels of cortisol allows the mind to calm and reduces anxiety and depression. At the same time, massage therapy boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine, both hormones that make us feel good. 

#2: Pain relief

Massage therapy is an ancient form of pain relief, used for centuries with varying other treatments such as oils and aromatherapy. The power of massage is the way it loosens muscles and addresses specific pain points causing tension, which the dad in your life might be experiencing due to his job, such as lifting or sitting for long periods. 

#3: Relaxation

Parenting and working a full time job, plus sports or hobbies, can leave little time for switching off. Many dads would love a chance to experience an hour or more of quiet, calm relaxation as their muscles ease and release. When the mind is given the space to relax, so can the body. 

#4: Boosts immunity

In these times of Covid, who doesn’t want an immune system functioning at its very best? Immune function depends on a healthy body and mind. The amazing thing about massage isn’t just its direct effect on the musculoskeletal system. It also works on the circulatory system, which transports blood (and white blood cells) around our body. White blood cells protect us against disease and illness and regular massage can help increase the numbers of these immune cells in our blood and reduce inflammation. 

#5: Improves sleep

Massage has a wonderful holistic effect in being able to enhance our ability to relax, to quieten the busy mind and allow the body to release tension. Sleep is often something we all need more of, especially in the early days and weeks of parenting a newborn. When we’re overtired, true restful sleep can be something even harder to attain. Massage can provide restorative relaxation that continues on, especially if it is done regularly. 

#6: Improves body flexibility

Being a dad involves lots of activity, whether that’s playing chasey, coaching a team sport or doing a parkrun with the family. Massage helps to improve our body’s flexibility and range of motion, and gets those muscle recovering faster. Injuries also heal better when attention is paid to specific areas that might be creating more problems. 

#7: Future proof his heart

Lowering blood pressure and reducing stress has an incredibly powerful effect on cardiovascular health. Unfortunately cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men (and women) and much of that is due to high blood pressure. Reducing stress, boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure all improve overall health and wellbeing, now and into the future. 

All too often dads tend to avoid or ignore things like self care, let alone seeing a health professional when they’re not feeling their best. Most dads spend long hours working and picking up the parenting baton when they are home – without taking time for themselves. 

Massage for dads at Nurtured Birth

If you’re trying to come up with a unique and special way to show the dad in your life how much you value them, book him a relaxation massage or remedial massage therapy session.

Nurtured Birth’s massage therapists are highly trained and qualified who love treating dads as much as pregnant women and mums.

We offer gift vouchers as the perfect self-care gift for the special dad in your life. Please visit this page to purchase a gift voucher.