Like most therapists, I was taught in school to avoid massage in the first trimester due to the higher risk of miscarriage during this vulnerable time. Currently, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that massage has the potential to cause a miscarriage. In fact, massage has the potential to help alleviate symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and anxiety, which are often the worst during the early stages of pregnancy. Why should you spend 1/3 of your pregnancy unable to receive massage when it is absolutely safe to do?! You shouldn’t, duh!
Of course, safety is our top priority, so I do take special precautions in both pre- and postnatal services. In the first trimester, it is safe to lie in both the prone (face down) and side-lying position with pillows for comfort and support. The current table I work on lifts both the head and the knees, putting my client into a semi-reclined position, allowing me to do a full body session supine (face up) as well. Most of my clients comment they wish they had a table like that at home simply because it’s so comfortable. Now that we’ve covered positioning, let’s move on to the treatment itself. Deep work on the low back is contraindicated during pregnancy. There are a few acupressure points to stay away from as well, just as a precaution. Otherwise, the massage takes place as normal. I offer to customize each session with light to deep pressure (where applicable), essential oils, and warm towels and stones. My goal is to help make this journey as happy and healthy as I possibly can.
I’ve been practicing pregnancy massage since becoming a licensed massage therapist in 2013, but it wasn’t until recently that I became truly passionate about this particular modality. My original “calling” was to do therapeutic massage. I loved being able to provide my client with noticeable results – pain relief, better sleep, stress management, increased range of motion, etc. It wasn’t until one of my repeat, deep tissue clients became pregnant that I realized just how beneficial pregnancy massage could be. Naturally, she was concerned we would lose the progress we had made because pregnancy massage has a reputation to consist solely of light pressure and be completely relaxation oriented. This simply isn’t true. Throughout her pregnancy, we continued working with her chronic, on-going concerns, as well as addressing the new ones that were quickly arising. Her reaction post-massage was always pure gratitude and appreciation, but that feeling expanded exponentially once she was pregnant and needed massage more than ever. Her response to pregnancy massage is what made it finally *click* for me. Pregnancy massage can be as relaxing, healing, stress reducing, and pain-relieving as regular massage.
I would love to answer any questions or address any concerns, so feel free to reach out and ask for me specifically.
Stephanie Arnold – LMBT, Certified Pregnancy Massage Therapist