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How Can I Make Sure My Prenatal Massage Is Safe?

What should I watch out for in getting a prenatal massage? Are there any oils I should be concerned about?


What should I watch out for in getting a prenatal massage? Are there any oils I should be concerned about?

The Bump Expert

Getting a prenatal massage is an awesome idea. It can help ease soreness, relieve stress and give you some time to focus on you. But there is some safety stuff you should watch out for.

Clear it with your OB

Make sure your doctor is okay with you getting a massage. If you have a high-risk condition, she may put the kibosh on it. Many spas don’t offer pregnancy massage for women in their first trimester, since the miscarriage risk is higher then. They don’t want to be blamed for someone’s lost pregnancy -- but (sigh of relief) massage doesn’t actually raise your risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.

Get a pro certified in prenatal

Your massage therapist should be experienced and certified in prenatal massage -- and should always know that you are expecting. That way, she can make sure to choose products that are less likely to irritate your skin (it’s probably a lot more sensitive these days) and will know the ins and outs of dealing with swollen ankles, tender legs and other prenatal body issues.

Don’t lie on your back

If you lie flat on your back after 18 weeks, you could compress a blood vessel that could lower your blood pressure dangerously. The beauty of many prenatal massages is that you actually get to lie facedown -- something you haven’t been able to do since soon after you started showing -- thanks to a special table with a cutout for your belly. And that can be a huge relief. If your spa doesn’t have that cutout table, you’ll lie on your side, propped up with pillows, while you get your rubdown, which can be super-comfortable too.

Avoid aromatherapy

This isn’t so much a safety concern as it is a comfort one. Many moms-to-be are more sensitive to smells than they were in their pre-pregnancy lives. So to avoid the issue, skip the aromatherapy and get a regular non-scented massage, or ask your therapist if you can catch a whiff of any scented oils -- and pick and choose your favorites -- before she begins the massage.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Which Lotions and Washes are Safe During Pregnancy?

Spa Safety During Pregnancy

Is a Seaweed Wrap Safe During Pregnancy?

belli beautiful book cover Melissa Schweiger and Annette Rubin, coauthors of Belli Beautiful: The Essential Guide to the Safest Health and Beauty Products for Pregnancy, Mom and Baby

How Can I Make Sure My Prenatal Massage Is Safe?

You can call 1-800-733-4727 for free and confident information. I call them weekly with questions about things I can and cannot use while pregnant and they don't get annoyed. :)

hockeymom27 |

How Can I Make Sure My Prenatal Massage Is Safe?

As a practicing licensed Massage Therapist, I advise against getting a prenatal massage face down (aka prone) even on a table with cut outs for your belly. Due to variability in body sizes, it's very possible that the belly cut out won't conform to you comfortably or adequately, and even if it does, the design simply transfers the pressure from the front of your belly to the sides. This can strain the ligaments and surrounding structures. Prenatal massage is best done on your side, supported by pillows. It's actually quite comfortable to be massaged in that position. You can also lay on your back with a table that inclines or if the therapist has a pillow wedge to put behind your back, which allows good access to your neck and shoulders. Many states do not require any special certification to perform massage on pregnant women, so definitely ask if your therapist has taken classes and/or is well practiced in prenatal massage..

bethjoyd |