Pregnancy, or pre-natal, massage can be a great way of relieving aches and pains associated with pregnancy. A massage can also make you feel more relaxed. You can read more about the benefits of massage by reading our previous blog post. Here’s some advice on the safety aspects of having a pregnancy massage…
Are Massages Safe During Pregnancy?
Guidelines advise that a pregnancy massage is usually safe after the first trimester of pregnancy, at 14 weeks. Massage before this time can trigger dizziness and make morning sickness worse.
Although evidence for this is limited, most massage therapists will avoid massaging certain “pressure points” on the body, as there is a belief that this can trigger early labour. It is also not recommended to have massage on your tummy.
Later in your pregnancy, we advise you not to lie flat on your back. This is because the weight of your bump can compress key blood vessels, which could lead to complications.
If you have had any complications with your current or previous pregnancies, we would encourage you to discuss the safety of a pregnancy massage with your midwife.
How are Pregnancy Massages Different from Normal Massages?
It is important for massage therapists to alter their technique when giving a pregnancy massage due to the anatomical and physiological changes that happen during pregnancy.
A key difference is that you will spend most of your time lying on your side. The size of your bump will make lying on your stomach, as in a traditional massage, difficult. As mentioned above, it is not recommended to lie on your back for a prolonged period of time. Therapists will use pillows to ensure that your bump and body alignment is properly supported.
Usually a pregnancy massage involves more gentle strokes to encourage relaxation. Deep tissue work, such as that used in sports massages, should not be used on your legs. This is because pregnant women are more at risk of blood clots and very firm massage could disrupt a blood clot.
To conclude, a pregnancy massage done by an appropriately trained professional can be a great way to relieve pain and de-stress during pregnancy.
Severn Physiotherapy offer a mobile pregnancy service, meaning that we can come to you and work around your needs. Many women find this easier, particularly if they are struggling with driving or have other children to look after. Click here to find out more about our services, or get in touch for a no-obligation chat about your needs!