Is massage safe during pregnancy? In the majority of cases, yes. I have had advanced training in prenatal massage and will work with you to create a wonderful massage session. With the exception of deep work in the legs and belly, we can do the exact same work we would have done before you were pregnant (just from a different angle).
If your pregnancy has been categorized by your midwife, nurse or ob/gyn as "high risk," please call me ahead of time to discuss your pregnancy so that we can determine what work is appropriate or can consult with your health care provider if necessary.
What are your qualifications? I am certified in prenatal massage through the nationally-recognized Nurturing the Mother training program. I have been doing pregnancy massage since 2002 and have worked with hundreds of pregnant clients. I stay current on the latest research related to massage and pregnancy through reading, webinars, and other continuing education opportunities.
After my own pregnancy in 2004 (during which I received many prenatal massages), I took the prenatal certification class again on the theory that I would understand its value even more after experiencing my own pregnancy. And that was true. Since then, I've specialized in prenatal massage. Who needs nurturing and comfort more than a pregnant person?
What are the benefits of pregnancy massage? While pregnancy massage has all the benefits of "regular" massage, it has been tailored to address more specifically the issues and conditions that a pregnant woman faces. More time is spent on methods to address low back and hip pain, edema, nausea, heartburn, constipation, etc. The U.S. government's National Institute of Health (NIH) has documented studies showing that women who received regular prenatal massage had decreased anxiety and stress hormones during pregnancy and fewer obstetric and postnatal complications, including lower prematurity rates. (NIH study and references.) The American Pregnancy Association has a good general article about the benefits of prenatal massage. (APA article) So, in addition to making you happier and more comfortable, pregnancy massage is good for your health and your baby's health. Please feel free to call me with questions about how massage can help with specific issues.
Do you have a special table? I have a special set of cushions that can be customized to each woman's individual shape and size. These cushions will accommodate you up to full term and are wonderfully comfortable.
The tables with cut-outs for the breast and belly (invented by the spa industry, rather than by experts in pregnancy massage) are not recommended. Being face down puts additional stress on your uterine and pelvic ligaments, shortens already challenged back musculature, and may lead to an increase in intrauterine pressure. Side-lying and semi-reclining positions are the healthiest options for you and your baby.
How often should I get a pregnancy massage and for how long? It depends. There are so many factors that affect the answer, but the main thing to consider is: how stressed and/uncomfortable are you? While your comfort depends largely on what trimester you are in, many structural/skeletal issues and lifestyle issues play a role. A woman who does regular prenatal yoga, has lots of opportunity to rest, has a longer torso, etc. may be much more comfortable than someone carrying twins, chasing a toddler instead of resting, working at a physically demanding job, coping with insomnia from stress, etc. I'll provide you some general guidelines, but checking in with your own body's comfort/discomfort or sense of "overwhelm" will be your best way to tell when it's time for a massage. (Sometimes the nurturer just needs nurturing.) In your 1st or 2nd trimester, receiving a 60-minute massage every two weeks to once a month is a great way to keep yourself relaxed, healthy, and comfortable.
If you have a high-stress lifestyle or muscle issues not related to your pregnancy that need to be addressed in depth, you might choose to schedule longer sessions or come in more often. In your 3rd trimester, when low back and hip discomfort tend to kick in, you may find that coming in for 75-minute or 90-minute massages once a week or every two weeks may be what you need to stay comfortable. Some women choose to come in twice a week near their due date, knowing that the more comfortable, rested, and relaxed they are going in, the easier labor and delivery will be.
* Certification for prenatal massage, like prenatal yoga, is not available through a state or national certifying board. It is advanced training that one seeks after graduation from massage school that is conducted by independent teachers who have been approved as providers by the National Certification Board for Massage and Bodywork Therapy. (The NCBMBT is a national organization whose exam most states use as the basis for state licensure in massage.) I am a certified Nurturing the Mother pregnancy massage therapist.
** National Institute of Health has documented studies showing that women who received regular prenatal massage had decreased anxiety and stress hormones during pregnancy and fewer obstetric and postnatal complications, including lower prematurity rates (NIH study).
Mt. Lebo Massage
Marta B. Magaw, Licensed Massage Therapist
Mt Lebo Massage
250 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Ste. 418, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15234
I've been making pregnancy more comfortable (and healthier**) for the last 19 years.
Documented benefits of prenatal massage:
In addition, I can provide information on sleep positioning, techniques to work on your own muscular and nerve pain, and tips for handling hemorrhoids, nausea, sinus congestion, and constipation,
Mt Lebo Massage
250 Mt Lebanon Blvd. #418