Everyone needs massage at all stages of life. I have a special place in my heart for the life stage of mothers-to-be. Pregnancy changes the woman’s body in so many ways – therefore it can be one of the most uncomfortable times of their lives. They need massage.
I am willing to give massage during any trimester, however some therapists won’t give a massage during the first trimester because this is the time when a miscarriage can occur. Giving massage can NOT cause a miscarriage, if it is going to happen, the body makes it happen. Just like massage can’t cause you to go into labor. When the baby is ready to come, then the body will cause labor.
Our job as a massage therapist is to make our client as comfortable as possible. We want to offer many pillows to support side lying and semi recline positions. Once the client is showing or doesn’t feel comfortable lying on their stomach, then we want to offer a position of them lying on their side to get to the posterior side of the body. I provide pillows between the knees to align the hips, a pillow under the neck to support the head and a pillow to hold onto to support the arms and shoulders. They may also need a pillow under the belly, too. I like to have standard pillows, body pillows and bolsters available so I can adjust to my client’s needs. To get to the anterior side of the body, I use the semi reclined position. This position is created by having pillows placed behind their back while in the supine position. For proper circulation, I also add a small pillow or bolster under the right hip, this helps move the baby off the abdominal blood vessels.
When asking what type of therapy work to use on a pregnant client, it is up to the client. In my opinion, since there is no option for a pregnancy deep tissue or Swedish massage – I do deep tissue work as the client can handle it. These ladies need the knots, tightness and trigger points worked out and this will give them the most long term relief. Some things to avoid are using heat, so no hot stones or bed warmers. Most pregnant clients are hot and it is best to have a fan in the room in case they get warm. Also you don’t want to do too much stretching due to the relaxin hormone. Relaxin causes the joints to be hypermobile and the body to prepare for labor. It is important to know your contraindications so you can modify the massage or if you would postpone the massage.
Give these ladies your best and they will appreciate you and come back for regular prenatal massages. Massage will help them sleep better, reduce stress, prevent long term injuries and make pregnancy a little easier.