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I became interested in treating pregnant women for many reasons. Mainly because it is such an amazing opportunity for women to learn how to take better care of themselves. Often times, women are highly motivated to improve their health and well being as they realize the positive impact it can have on their unborn baby. Prenatal massage is just one way to pursue better physical and emotional health in pregnancy. Women also have very good questions about prenatal massage so I would like to share my experience and expertise in this area!
Seek out a massage therapist that is CERTIFIED in prenatal massage. Massage therapists are required to be licensed, but do not necessarily receive training in prenatal massage. Massage therapists may pursue continuing education to advance their skills to provide safer and more effective massage to pregnant women. The advanced coursework includes optimal positioning for comfort, massage techniques to address specific areas of complaint and contraindications to massage.
Massage can be very rewarding from the first trimester through the post-partum year. Prenatal massage is safe from the onset of pregnancy. Typically, monthly massage through the first 34 weeks and weekly massage during the last 6 weeks is most beneficial. When you are in early labor, if you can get in to see your massage therapist, it is a wonderful time to have relaxed focus in preparation for active labor.
Massaging the feet and ankles is safe and feels great! Massaging firmly, even in the areas around the acupuncture points, will not initiate early labor. Positioning on a massage table is best in side-lying and reclining. Lying face down on prenatal pillows or with a hole cut out of the table has the potential to increase fetal blood pressure, strain the abdominal musculature and strain uterine ligaments. Lying on your back is also safe well into pregnancy as long as you do not experience shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea.
Deep massage is safe, but should never be painful. The only areas that should NEVER be massaged deeply are the inner calf and inner thigh. Pregnant women have an increased risk of developing blood clots. The inner calf and inner thigh are typical areas where a blood clot may develop. Deep massage has the potential to dislodge a clot or cause microtrauma to form a clot.
What are the benefits of Prenatal Yoga?
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
- Nancy Charlebois, PT,MT