Is Prenatal Massage Safe?
It is no secret that pregnancy is a delicate time for most women. With a laundry list of things to avoid/caution women often wonder if Massage during pregnancy is safe.
The short answer is YES... given that you are seeing a Registered Massage Therapist. (RMT)
In Ontario Massage Therapy is considered a regulated profession. This means that all Massage Therapists have taken and passed a college program along with a provincial licensing exam to obtain their title.
Part of the course curriculum when becoming an RMT is prenatal Massage therefore all with this title are competent in prental Massage. Those with special interest will take additional courses to further their expertise in the area.
At Mama Mobile we only hire Massage Therapists who have expressed a passion for prenatal Massage and we provide them with constant education to ensure they are feeling confident in their skills. Our advice is to visit a clinic that specializes in prenatal Massage or an RMT that lists this as a special interest in his/her biography on the website you visit.
Here are some things to note when you are having your first prenatal Massage that may be different than your usual session.
With a growing belly and advice from ones doctor not to lie on your baby bump, many women have the misconception that they will not be able to receive a Massage during their pregnancy.
With the help of research and innovation, there are a few solutions to ensure you receive a safe and effective Massage during every stage of your pregnancy.
What Are Pregnancy Massage Pillows?
There are in fact a series of special pillows that exist which allow you to safely lay facedown on the Massage table with your bump! As long as you are working with a Registered Massage Therapist and have a pillow which completely elevates/supports your belly in most cases you will be safe. Our two-part pillowing system is contoured to fit around your entire belly.
The bottom pillow contours around your hips/pelvis and lower belly, this completely supports delicate ligaments and sensitive areas. The top pillow is carved out to support tender breasts and contoured around the top of the belly completely elevating it from the table. Both of these pillows work together to support the mama to be on the Massage table. The beauty of having two separate pillows is that they can be moved closer together/apart to accommodate the size of the belly. The main thing to note is that the belly never touches the table, it is cradled in between the pillows creating a safe nest to support your baby.
3 Important Things To Note
1- Your belly should never touch the table. Gently reach your hand under your belly once in the pillowing system, if you feel no contact with the table you are most likely in a safe position.
2- You feel supported. You do not feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your position. You are able to fully breathe/relax.
3- You do not stay on your belly for the whole Massage. It is not recommended to stay in this position for a full hour. Part of the Massage should be performed in another position.
Will Anything Else Be Different?
During your prenatal Massage, the amount of pressure applied will be slightly less than what you could ask for during a regular Massage. I always like to compare a deep tissue Massage to a workout. Your body needs adequate rest and time to recover, it is not recommended during pregnancy to do any vigorous activities as the body is already working overtime creating your little human. Less pressure does not mean that the Massage will be less effective! Your body just needs a more gentle approach during this time.
We recommend Massage every 3-4 weeks throughout your pregnancy. When a normal client without injury works with us we usually suggest every 4-6 weeks.
We increase the frequency during pregnancy to accommodate the constant changes that your body is undergoing. We are not able to be as aggressive in our approach with deep pressure, stretching recommendations etc. This means that having lighter Massages more frequently are more effective in this case. Studies also show that frequent Massages during pregnancy makes for an easier labor, delivery and alleviates some of the common physical/emotional symptoms of pregnancy. (More on this later)
During any Massage it is very normal for your blood pressure to drop, this is actually a major plus and a great sign that your body is feeling relaxed! In a Prenatal Massage the shift in blood pressure can happen more suddenly and it is reccomended to practice caution when getting up after your Massage is finished. (If you feel an unusual amount of dizziness contact your doctor)
Unlike your last Massage when you were not yet pregnant part of your treatment may be focused on reducing swelling of the hands/feet. Massage for swelling involves very light pressure to move the edema and increase circulation. Trust your Massage Therapist to perform what is best for your body during this time.
We hope this debunked some of the myths and motivated you to get the Massage you deserve!