Your safety guide to prenatal massages

Learn when you're safe to have a prenatal massage

When you’re pregnant, everyone notices your baby bump, but few recognize the pain and discomfort you may be feeling, but you. Growing a baby in your tummy puts pressure on many of your body’s essential symptoms (hence when you need to pee more often when pregnant).

Some of this pressure on your body can be relieved through a prenatal massage, but you may wonder if it’s safe to get a massage during pregnancy. The short answer is yes; prenatal massage can be safe if a trained registered massage therapist massages you.

A prenatal massage can help your body function as optimally as possible. It can eliminate pain and discomfort so you can focus on growing a healthy baby. Keep reading to learn more about the safety of prenatal massages.

Is massage safe when you’re pregnant?

In most situations, yes. But always tell your massage therapist if you’re pregnant, and how many weeks you are so they can perform a prenatal massage. It’s very similar to a regular massage, but with a few changes to ensure you and your baby are safe, including:

  • Massage position: A typical massage will have you lying on your back or tummy. When pregnant, laying on your back puts too much pressure on your internal organs and spine, and your front is impossible due to your growing belly. Prenatal massages can be done while you lay on your side or sitting upright in a chair. Cushions and pillows can also be used to support your belly or body.
  • Minimal pressure: Deep tissue massages can harm the mother or baby. That’s why prenatal massages are more gentle, and use sweeping, gentle strokes.
  • Avoiding acupressure points: There are specific spots in your body that, if pressed, could induce labour (but only if your body is ready for it). You could ask your massage therapist to avoid these areas if you are concerned about going into labour.

How prenatal massage helps

Prenatal massages help with various physical symptoms and pains of pregnancy and have psychological, calming benefits. Massages help improve circulation in your body, which is often impeded as your baby puts pressure on your internal organs and veins. Improved circulation helps support many health benefits.

The key benefits of a prenatal massage include the following:

  • Relief from back pain: As your belly grows, your back is pulled inwards, and you may try leaning backwards more to compensate. This can cause severe lower back pain as your pregnancy progresses. Prenatal massages can help ease your pain (and help support better posture).
  • Stress and anxiety relief: You have a lot (figuratively) on your shoulders when carrying a baby. This can increase your anxiety and stress levels, which is unsafe for you and the baby.
  • Improves your mood: When your body and mind are relaxed, you’ll notice your mood is boosted after a prenatal massage.
  • Reduced swelling: Carrying the extra baby weight can inhibit the flow of blood and fluids in your body. This can cause swelling in the ankles and legs, but prenatal massages can help encourage the flow of blood and fluids again to minimize swelling.
  • Lower risk of preterm birth: Massage could lower your risk of birth complications, including low birth weight and preterm births.
  • Sciatica relief: Your uterus rests on your pelvic floor and lower back muscles, which can cut off the sciatic nerve, causing shooting pain down your lower back, buttocks, and legs. Regular massages while pregnant can help relieve this nerve pain by reducing tension on your sciatic nerve to reduce inflammation.

When is massage not recommended during pregnancy

While prenatal massages have many benefits, it’s not recommended for some women. These include those with:

  • Blood clots
  • Bone fractures
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin injury that’s sensitive to rubbing or massage oils
  • Allergies to massage oils

Massages are generally safe during all stages of your pregnancy. However, some massage therapists don’t recommend them in your first trimester due to the increased risk of miscarriage. If you don’t have any other health concerns or complications, prenatal massages can be performed throughout your pregnancy.

If you feel lightheaded or dizzy at any time during your massage, tell your massage therapist so they can stop or adjust your technique for your comfort.

Where to get a safe prenatal massage in Vancouver

Before getting a massage when pregnant, let your massage therapist know. Not every massage therapist is trained in prenatal massage, so you want to ensure yours is. If your regular masseuse is not qualified, they can recommend another practitioner, usually in the same office. It’s also a good idea to get your doctor’s or midwife’s approval.

They will also be a great resource if you have any questions about having a massage while pregnant. Before beginning, your first prenatal massage will likely include a quick consult or intake questionnaire to understand your prenatal health and comfort levels.

Oceana Massage offers safe and effective pregnancy and prenatal massages to help you relax your mind and body. Our team has over 15 years of experience assisting women to prepare for their little one’s arrival. Treatments are based on your needs and comfort level because the safety and comfort of you and your baby are our top priority.

Book a prenatal massage today.