Pregnancy - Prenatal Massage
I specialize in prenatal/pregnancy massage. I've been fully trained in taking care of the expectant mother throughout her pregnancy. I keep my client comfortable by supporting her body with soft pillows positioned under the head, shoulder and between the legs as she lies on her side. I also use a wedge-shaped memory foam pillow so she can relax in a semi-reclined position rather than on her back as the pregnancy progresses.
Some spas offer pregnancy massage, but often the massage therapists who work there have little training. I had a woman come to me after seeing a therapist at one of these spas and she told me the therapist only worked on her arms for the entire hour.
You should also be very cautious of using a massage table with a cut-out hole for the belly as these can often add stress to the ligaments of the uterus and put unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Side lying is still the preferred position for pregnancy massage and is very relaxing.
Benefits of prenatal massage: One of the best benefits of getting a pregnancy massage is relief from low back and hip pain. 95% of the clients I've seen have had pain in the lower back and hips. Massage is very effective at relieving this pain so clients can avoid pain medication.
Massaging the feet is a wonderful treat for pregnant women. The extra weight gain from being pregnant can add stress to the feet and ankles. And because massage is very relaxing, it also helps ease the additional stress of pregnancy on the body so clients get a good night’s sleep.
In the later stages of a client's pregnancy, I usually work the diaphragm because the baby is pushing against it and against the ribs. Diaphragm work can help reduce shortness of breath and make breathing easier.
I do include a light massage of the stomach since the oils feel soothing to the stretched skin. I also work with the neck, arms, legs, lower back, hips, and upper shoulders. Adding a wonderful scalp massage can lull a client into a state of bliss.
There are rarely any contraindications for pregnancy massage but Preeclampsia may be one of them. I would require a doctor’s note before the massage. Also, if a pregnant client has diabetes, be sure to offer, or have them bring, something to snack on after the massage in case their blood sugar drops.