Upon graduating from massage school I enrolled in a course to study prenatal massage. In my previous career I had worked with women who were on forced bed rest due to complications with their pregnancies. The stress and uncertainty was so hard on the women and their partners. If there was a way that I could help women experience a more comfortable, joyful pregnancy, I wanted to find it. I have been doing prenatal massage for almost 20 years now, and I still feel like there is something magical about supporting a woman as she prepares to bring new life into the world.
Pregnancy is such a joyful time, but it is also a time of significant change..physical, hormonal, emotional, social. These changes are often uncomfortable, especially for the first-time mother. Prenatal massage can be a wonderful way to relieve some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy and support the mother-to-be through the many transitions of her pregnancy. For more detailed information about the health benefits of prenatal massage, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Prenatal Massage
Q: How is prenatal massage different from regular massage?
A: Prenatal massage technique is very similar to any other therapeutic massage you may have received. The main differences are positioning, and the knowledge and understanding your therapist has about the changes your body is experiencing during the different stages of your pregnancy. As you progress through your second and third trimesters, you won’t be comfortable in the face down position. Your therapist will be trained in the use of cushions and bolsters to position you comfortably and will know how to provide massage to you in the side-lying position. She will understand how your muscles, tendons and ligaments are being effected by hormonal changes and how they are stressed as your center of gravity changes with your growing baby. Your therapist will also be familiar with conditions that may arise in which massage would not be recommended.
Q: At what point in my pregnancy is it safe to get prenatal massage?
A: While some massage establishments will not do prenatal massage during the first trimester, as long as you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy without complications, you may safely enjoy massage from conception until delivery.
Q: When is it not safe to get prenatal massage?
A: You should NOT receive massage if you have any acute symptoms of sickness such as vomiting, diarrhea or fever, if you have excessive swelling in your arms or legs, if you experience pain in your abdomen or have any vaginal bleeding/discharge, or if you notice a decrease in fetal movement over a 24 hour period. You should NOT receive massage if you have a known complication with your pregnancy such as premature labor, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, or placenta previa, or if it is not approved by your OG/GYN for any other medical reason.
Q: Can I get a foot massage during pregnancy? I’ve heard about pressure points that might cause me to go into labor.
A: While there are specific pressure points that, when actively stimulated, can help labor progress, a general foot/leg massage will not cause you to go into labor. In your third trimester when you might begin to experience some minor fluid retention, foot and leg massage can be helpful in stimulating circulation and soothing tired muscles and joints.
Prenatal massage by a properly trained therapist can be an excellent way to relieve some of the common discomforts of pregnancy and promote relaxation for the mother to be. If you, or someone you know is expecting in Northern Virginia, I would be honored to support you through your wonderful journey.