Is massage safe for pregnant women? The truth is not all kinds of massage is safe for pregnant women. However, there is something that we call pregnancy massage, which is specifically created to cater to the needs of pregnant women.
Pregnancy massage therapy has many benefits. These benefits include the reduction of stress and anxiety and relief of nerve pain and muscle cramps. Pregnant women who get massaged report feeling better and sleeping better at night!
Given these benefits, not everyone should be racing towards their nearest spa in the hopes that they offer prenatal massage. Not every massage technique is applicable for pregnant women — some can even be harmful — so only go to places that employ pregnancy massage experts.
What does a pregnancy massage expert do?
Because blood circulation changes during pregnancy, pregnant women are often at the risk of developing blood clots in the legs, such as in the thighs or in the calves. This means that your pregnancy massage expert should avoid putting too much pressure on the legs. Deep massage techniques like deep-tissue massage and shiatsu should be avoided.
Aside from the legs, no strong pressure should be put on the abdominal area. In fact, to be completely safe, some therapists prefer to skip the abdominal area altogether.
What is the best position for a pregnancy massage?
With regular massages, you will find yourself lying face-down most of the time. But this cannot be applied to a pregnancy massage because it’s comfortable — even impossible — for a pregnant woman to lie on her growing belly.
Instead, during a prenatal massage therapy, the best position is side-lying. Your pregnancy massage expert may also provide you a special kind of table with a hole in the middle to accommodate your belly. However, it’s up to you to determine which position is more comfortable and don’t hesitate to let your therapist know.
When is the best time for a pregnancy massage?
While a healthy pregnant woman with no complications can have a massage at any point of her pregnancy, many massage therapists will refuse to offer their services to any pregnant woman who is still in the first trimester.
Many miscarriages happen during the first trimester, and while it may or may not be caused by the massage, it’s understandable that the facilities would like to avoid any liability.
With this said, it is probably best to have a prenatal massage beginning on your second trimester. Also worth noting is the difference between a regular pregnancy massage and perineal massage. The former can be given from the second trimester to relieve stress and soothe discomforts, while the latter is meant to stretch the birth canal in preparation for labor.
Don’t forget that even if you are healthy with an easy pregnancy, it is still a must to consult your doctor or health care provider and seek their go-signal first.
When should you not have a pregnancy massage?
Many can attest to the health benefits of a good pregnancy massage, and it can become part of your pregnancy self-care. But take note that not all pregnant women can get a massage. It is best to avoid getting a pregnancy massage if you have one of the following conditions:
- A high-risk pregnancy
- Hyperemesis gravidarum or severe nausea and vomiting
- A doctor’s order for bed rest
- A history of miscarriage or premature labor
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
And if you have none of the conditions mentioned above but feel sick or lightheaded during or after your massage, don’t be afraid to tell your therapist to stop. It may be best to avoid getting another pregnancy massage in the future, or at least try another massage therapist with the consent of your doctor or health care provider.