Massage Therapy Pregnancy & Massage - Is It Okay?

Pregnancy & Massage - Is It Okay?

So you’re pregnant.  Congratulations!  What an exciting time for you.
 
If you have already incorporated massage therapy into your wellness routine you may be wondering if you will be able to continue getting treatment.  If you have never had massage therapy before you may be asking if this is a good time to start.  The answer to both of these questions, in its simplest form is yes. 
 
Your first question is probably how am I going to continue to lie on my stomach?  Well, of course at some point you will not be able to do this anymore but that does not mean you won’t be able to keep receiving massage.  In the initial stages of pregnancy you may be quite comfortable in the prone position.  If you are there is no danger to the baby.  Sometimes extra pillowing or absorbency is needed for the breasts.  Lying on your back is also safe at this point especially with the precaution of putting a pillow under the right hip to ensure the blood vessel to the heart is not being compromised by the extra uterine pressure.
 
After thirteen weeks it is not advisable to use this position.  In some cases you are still comfortable but when you add in the extra pressure being applied by the therapist the intra uterine pressure can reach the point of excess.  At this time you will begin to be treated in the side-lying position.  In this position you and your baby remain comfortable and safe.
 
You will have a pillow under your head.  Your bottom leg is almost in a line with your spine while your top leg is bent at the hip and knee, brought forward and supported with pillows.  There also may be a small pillow or wedge under your abdomen and one in front of your breasts for your upper arm to lie across.  This provides the therapist with adequate access and you with maximum support.  As long as it is comfortable for you, you will switch from one side to the other at the mid-point of the massage.  A few minutes can still also be spent on your back with pillows at your knees and right hip while you get neck and head work done.  In the third trimester this part will be eliminated so the whole massage is conducted side-lying.
 
So now you can see that the changes occurring in your shape will not keep you from massage.  But what about the pregnancy itself.  Is massage safe and beneficial for the two of you?  Again the answer is yes.  If your pregnancy is determined to be low risk and complication-free massage can provide comfort and pain relief at all stages.  Receiving massage can increase stress reduction and relaxation.  It provides circulatory benefits and improved physiological functioning as well as providing a reduction of musculoskeletal strain and pain.
 
In some cases where complications have occurred massage will only be carried out with your health care provider’s approval and adjustments may need to be made to certain aspects of the massage.
 
As there are techniques that are not allowed and others that must be modified even in the first trimester it is important to notify your therapist if you only think you may be pregnant.  To be safe you should let your therapist know as soon as you start trying to conceive.
 
I hope that I have answered some of your questions about massage and pregnancy.  If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us at omwc@omwc.ca