Pregnancy Massage FAQs
Ultimately, it is the client's choice – unless a medical situation dictates otherwise. It is wise to always consult your doctor or health care professional before beginning any massage. Massage during the first trimester can help calm and relax you. Deep abdominal work and hot treatments are avoided during this time.
'Healthy' clients can be massaged safely from the first trimester through to post-partum recovery. Clients who have regular massage or those trying to conceive should continue their regular treatments – but inform their therapist so the techniques and aromatherapy can be altered to suit. Clients who do not get regular massage probably won't even think to get a massage until their body starts to strain.
High-risk pregnancies, such as those mothers who have experienced a previous problem-pregnancy, current illness, high blood pressure and those who are on bed rest, need to obtain a doctor's permission before receiving massage.
Prone positioning (face down, lying on your tummy) exerts excess strain on lumbar, pelvis and uterine structures and is only appropriate for the first trimester (to 13 weeks).
During the second and third trimesters, side-lying is the best position. If prenatal complications exist, initially lying on the left side promotes optimal maternal and foetal circulation. From 13-22 weeks, a support-pillow is used under the right hip when supine (laying on the back) and from 22 weeks to birth, mothers will sit up in a semi-reclining position at a 45 degree angle. Our electric table makes positioning easy – including getting on and off the table!
Positioning to relax muscles and limit compression/strain is something that a massage therapist can help with. Mothers can then use this knowledge to help at home to get more comfortable.
In India, post-natal massage is given daily to all mothers for over a month...In Australia, we aren't so generous but we should be doing more to look after new mums! Massage can help recovery and the relaxation encourages milk let down. Research shows proven benefits including help for those mothers with postnatal depression.
Massage needs to be altered and is sometimes not immediately appropriate if maternal complications have occurred - a doctor's permission is needed.
The side-lying position is still most appropriate unless the mother prefers to lie prone, being well-supported especially under her chest. No deep pressure is applied at the epidural site until residual tenderness is resolved. Swollen ankles and feet are common especially after an epidural.