Are Massages Safe During Pregnancy? Our Massage Expert Answers Your FAQs
If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably considered having a prenatal massage to relieve your sore body. But are massages safe during pregnancy? We asked our massage expert, Sarah, your top seven FAQs to ease your mind about the service.
- Is massage safe during your entire pregnancy?
Yes. Massage is definitely safe during your entire pregnancy. It was said in the past that massage was contraindicated during the first trimester, but that’s not true.
- Are there any circumstances in which you would advise against a massage?
Really, the only time we wouldn’t do a prenatal massage is if the mother has, or suspects she has, deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of this because of an increase in blood.
Also, if the mother has a high risk pregnancy, she would want to have her doctor’s permission before receiving a massage.
- How does a prenatal massage benefit a mother?
Massage benefits pregnant women in many different ways. It improves circulation, helps bring down swelling, and relieved muscular and ligament soreness.
Because a mother’s ligaments relax while pregnant, and because there’s a shift in gravity, a mother’s lower back tends to bare all of the work to stabilize her entire body structure. Massage helps relieve this pain.
Women are also known to experience headaches, stress and anxiety, which massage is proven to help relieve.
- Does the massage regimen differ depending on trimester?
Positioning is the only thing that differs from the first trimester to the second and third trimester.
Most women are fine with remaining in prone position on their tummies and on their backs through their first trimester.
After their bellies begin to grow, though, these positions usually become uncomfortable. Midway through the pregnancy, pregnant women can no longer lay flat on their backs. The vena cava can become impinged by the weight of the uterus, affecting the return of blood flow from the legs to the heart.
That’s why massage therapists position pregnant women on their sides for the massage.
When placed in a side-lying position, mothers are given large pillows to support their bodies. Depending on the therapist, he or she might turn the mother face-up by raising the back of the table so the mother isn’t flat on her back.
- Which areas does the massage therapist focus on the most?
The massage is tailored to the mother and her areas of concern and pain. But, overall, therapists use light to medium pressure. They also focus on low back and hips, and apply light draining techniques if swelling is present.
Draining techniques are light massage strokes toward the heart and attachment points to help move swelling and water retention out of the extremities.
- What should you do after the massage is over?
Drink water, stretch and relax! And if you schedule your massage at a spa with a relaxation pool, like The Edgewater, it’s great to take a dip in afterwards. Here, we set our pool temperature between 95 and 98 degrees, which is safe for pregnant women.
If you don’t have access to a relaxation pool, baths are also helpful to relax the muscles and calm the body — perfect before bedtime. Just don’t raise the core temperature past 100 degrees — that will put a mom and her baby at risk.
- How often should you receive a prenatal massage?
I typically advise expectant mothers to schedule a prenatal massage every four weeks or as often as needed.
As you can see, prenatal massages are not only safe during every level of pregnancy, but beneficial to both mom and fetus as well. Book yours at The Edgewater today.