Is this safe for me and the baby?

Is this safe for me and the baby?

Danielle by Danielle

The number one question we are asked, in one form or another, about prenatal massage is “Is this safe for me and the baby?”

With good communication, proper positioning and appropriate techniques, absolutely!
Good communication begins with your initial intake. Please let us know about any medical issues on the radar for you and your doctor or midwife, like gestational diabetes, high or low blood pressure (including pre-eclampsia), possible blood clots, swelling in your hands and feet (edema), “carpal tunnel” like symptoms in your wrists/hands. We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears open for any signs that suggest we need to proceed with caution. In the vast majority of cases, we can modify techniques and positioning appropriately to allow for a safe, relaxing and enjoyable session. If not (which is very rare), we will let you know and cancel the session at no cost to you.

Communication is also important when you are on the table. We will encourage you to let us know if you feel the need to move or change positions at any time, need a bathroom or snack break, or if any technique we are using feels painful.

Proper positioning from late in your first trimester forward looks a lot like how you feel comfortable sleeping:

  • On your side, with a pillow between your knees and one under your head, and perhaps extra support under your belly and ribcage.
  • In a semi reclined position, face up with pillows supporting your back, and support under your knees.

In these positions, we can take strain off your hips, back and neck, and we can create an environment that decreases the likelihood of pressure on your vena cava and potential compression on your belly that could decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to your baby. (We do not use tables with belly cut outs as there is some concern in the recent research that this increases compression and puts strain on your lower back and uterine ligaments.) Your body is very good at letting you know via nausea, anxiety or a general sense of unease when a position is not right for you and your baby. If this happens, we will work with you to find a position that is right for you and will change positions as often as we need to for your comfort.

Appropriate techniques, including deep tissue, can look very similar to ones we use with our clients who are not pregnant, with a couple of notable changes:

  • During the first trimester, we avoid deep tissue work around your sacrum and any abdominal massage.
  • Throughout your pregnancy, we avoid potential induction acupressure points on the hands, feet, lower legs and shoulders (FYI: This is very easy to do and definitely does not mean we have to avoid working in these areas entirely.)
  • We avoid deep tissue work of the inner thigh in your second and third trimester and in the first weeks postpartum, due to the increased risk of blood clots.
  • We avoid techniques that overtax joints that are already responding to relaxin, the hormone responsible for loosening joints and ligaments in preparation for your baby’s growth and birth.

With these safety measures in mind, there is so much we can do! So bring us your sore neck, your tired feet, and your aching lower back—we are here to help and we have a lot to offer.