Although most pregnant women an benefit greatly from regular massage, not all women are good candidates. Certain conditions may indicate avoiding any additional stimulation to the body. High blood pressure, severe swelling, preeclampsia, previous pre-term labor, excessive vomiting, fever, or infectious diseases are examples of such conditions. A HIGH RISK PREGNANCY OF ANY KIND WOULD REQUIRE CLEARANCE FROM YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER BEFORE RECEIVING MASSAGE.
As long as mommy and baby are experiencing a normal/healthy pregnancy (as deemed by the primary prenatal care provider) massage can be incorporated throughout the entire pregnancy. Be sure to consult with your primary prenatal care provider before receiving massage and keep your massage therapist informed about any changes you are experiencing.
Pregnancy massage should be performed by a therapist certified in the modality. A well trained therapist will understand the pregnant body and be aware of any necessary precautions. Be informed about your therapist's training before you get on his/her table.
All of the benefits of prenatal massage for mommy are also bestowed upon the baby. When mommy is relaxed, so is baby. (Research indicates that massage can reduce the levels of stress hormone production for up to two weeks!) When mommy's circulation is improved, blood flow is increased to the uterus and placenta, bringing vital nutrients to baby. Improved lymphatic flow for mommy (helping to flush out toxins), means healthier tissue for baby too. Taking the time for massage also allows mommy and baby to enjoy a part of the day with no interruptions, giving them a chance for further bonding.
Not unless you want to or have been so advised by your primary prenatal care provider. There is some degree of fear associated with the delicacy of the first trimester since this is when the majority of miscarriages will occur. There is, however, no evidence indicating that well performed massage can influence a miscarriage. Massage can help reduce stress, which is associated with a variety of health complications. It is advisable, however, to wait to schedule a massage until you have had your first prenatal check up (during which time you would be advised of any contraindications for massage) and let your provider know that you will be seeking massage.
Absolutely! Although the benefits of prenatal massage are numerous, it is intended to complement your care, not replace it.
It is optimal that a pregnant woman be positioned side lying and/or semi-reclined during massage and supported with pillows or body cushions (especially after the first trimester). Some women may find these positions more comfortable even in the first trimester due to tender breasts or nausea. Prone position (on stomach) is not advisable even if a massage table provides cut outs or "belly holes", as this position may increase nasal congestion and can further stretch already compromised uterine ligaments.
Once you have seen your primary healthcare provider for your postpartum check up, you can return for regular massages provided, of course, that you have not been advised otherwise by our physician. Postpartum massages are a great way to reduce the emotional and physical stress associated with caring for a newborn and the changes that your body is, once again, going through.