By Emma McIntyre.
Congratulations! You’re pregnant. Wait a second, you’re aching and want a massage? Maybe you’ve heard getting a massage during pregnancy is dangerous?
Let me shed a little light on the issue.
Massage in pregnancy is generally safe. There are some differences between a standard massage and a pregnancy massage which are quite important. Sometimes, a pregnant woman may have existing conditions that unfortunately prevent her from having a massage, but always have a chat to your massage therapist first if you have any concerns.
Sometimes, it might just mean you have a shorter massage or are positioned differently. Your massage therapist should also know the warning signs and red flags of pre-eclampsia and early labour as well.
What’s the difference between a pregnancy massage and a normal massage?
Firstly, always go to a massage therapist who has been trained in pregnancy massage. They will know what can and can’t be done. This will give you the confidence in their treatment of you.
It may seem a little bit obvious but you’d be surprised. A good massage therapist has a bunch of tricks up their sleeve to make your massage comfortable. Here are the basic options according to trimester.
- 1st trimester: Can be face down as long as the client is comfortable or as for 2nd trimester.
- 2nd trimester: Either in face down with a pregnancy support system or side lying using pillows.
- 3rd trimester: Side lying position is preferred during this trimester. The support system can be used but not for longer than about 20 minutes. Sitting and leaning on the table is another option but is rarely used.
In side lying position the client on their side with a pillow under their head and between their knees and possibly under the belly, a rolled up towel to cuddle, making sure the knees are bent. Draped towels will be used to keep you warm and protect your modesty.
Techniques and precautions.
Also there are both special techniques for pregnancy massage and ones to avoid. This is where having a qualified pregnancy massage therapist is very important. There might be more of one particular style than in a normal massage too. You will have noticed your level of pain awareness has decreased. This is to help you with labour. This can also be tricky in senses pain during a massage. This means during a massage less pressure can be applied than normal as you are not able to feel it as well. Over doing the pressure during a massage can lead to bruising and injury, hence the cautious approach. During pregnancy, your body produces relaxin, a magic substance that allows your pelvic joints to stretch for birth. That’s the good news. As a side bonus of this, all your joints are affected, so you will be more flexible and not as aware when you’ve over stretched. That’s the bad news. You massage therapist will be able to ease some of your discomfort in the pelvic region but won’t be able to release it completely.
Knowing which essential oils in the first trimester can be abortive and irritating to morning sickness is another area your massage therapist should be aware of. In fact, I don’t use any in my clinic as pregnancy heightens the sense of smell.
If you have any concerns feel free to discuss them with your massage therapist first. You need to have confidence in them to get the most out of your session.
Emma McIntyre aka The Mummyseuss is a pregnancy massage specialist. The Mummyseuss can be found at Hand Print Massage