Is Pregnancy Massage Safe in the first trimester?
Yes - if your therapist has been properly trained in pre-natal massage, they practice pregnancy treatments regularly and they abide by safe practices for pregnancy massage, then you will be in safe hands. It’s always good to check what qualifications your therapist has before booking a treatment.
When Is it safe to get a Post-Natal Massage?
Following the birth of your baby, massage with a trained post-natal massage therapist is safe as soon as your care provider gives you the all clear. You may need to wait a little longer to have a treatment after a caesarean as there can sometimes be circulatory complications present. It’s a good idea to ask for written medical clearance from your midwife or obstetrician before booking a post-natal massage.
Is a Post-Natal massage the same as a regular massage?
A post-natal massage is actually quite similar to a pregnancy massage - in a side lying position, with hips and shoulders supported, without excessive pressure. Of course, focus is given to the areas that need it like your shoulders, neck and lower back.
Why can’t I just go to my closest regular massage clinic after my baby’s birth?
Your body has been through a lot! It’s grown an entire person over the last 10 months, recently birthed your baby and is now changing again to accomodate breastfeeding, while your hips and pelvic area gradually return to their non-pregnancy form. Because of this, treatments in the first 3 months post-partum need to take your body’s needs, sensitivities and post-natal precautions into consideration. Please check with your massage therapist that they have been trained in post-natal massage before booking a treatment.
What essential oils should I avoid during Pregnancy?
The following oils should be avoided during pregnancy:
Basil, Cedarwood, Fennel, Sweet Marjoram, Myrrh, Pennyroyal, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and any other essential oil described as toxic.
The following oils can stimulate uterine contractions and should only be used topically after 38 weeks to help encourage labour or in the birthing room:
Clary Sage, Jasmine, Rose.
N.B. All essential oils are safe to use in a diffuser during pregnancy. Precautions only need to be taken when applying oils to the body.
What conditions can pregnancy massage treat?
Pregnancy massage with a trained specialist can treat:
Lower back pain
Shoulder and neck pain
Leg cramps and swelling
Discomfort in the lower belly, ribs and hips
It can also help to improve:
Ease of movement
Your connection with your baby and your body
Can pregnancy massage help my sciatic pain?
In short, yes. A treatment with a trained pregnancy massage specialist should help to relieve sciatic pain caused by pregnancy by releasing tension in the gluteal muscles, particularly the piriformis muscle, which can become much tighter during pregnancy.
If your sciatic pain persists, I would recommend seeing a Cranial Osteopath or a Physiotherapist who specialises in pregnancy.
What Pressure points should I avoid during pregnancy?
In general, pressure points really need to be stimulated A LOT for any of them to cause a significant effect on your pregnancy. However, some main areas to avoid are:
GB 21 - located on the ridge of muscle on the top of your shoulders on both sides, in the middle of the upper trapezius muscle, halfway between the shoulder and the spine. This point can be used to stimulate contractions or the let down of breastmilk once baby has been born. If you are trying to induce labour, I would recommend having someone apply fairly firm pressure to this point for at least 1 minute (or as long as you can stand it, without causing pain or bruising), at least twice a day from 38 or 39 weeks onwards. Repetition and consistency are key.
LI 4 - located on the highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index fingers are brought close together. This point should be avoided for the entire pregnancy.
The inner leg, particularly below the knee - Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that overstimulating the inner leg during pregnancy can cause early labour or miscarriage.
Is foot massage safe during pregnancy?
Yes, foot massage is safe if your therapist has been trained in precautions for pregnancy. A single foot massage will not send you into labour (if only!). Because of the extra fluid in the body during pregnancy, strong pressure to the feet and legs should be avoided, but long sweeping strokes and medium-strength kneading can help to ease the pressure in the area.