Pregnancy Massage is a safe, gentle treatment suitable throughout pregnancy when it's in the right hands.
Pregnancy massage has tremendous benefits right from the first trimester through til (or past) your due date. With a suitably trained masseuse who knows how to treat and check for issues in pregnant women. Your massage should start with a chat through your symptoms and some physical checks to make sure that massage is right for you. I will check legs and feet before every massage whether you have been before or not. If you are poorly (e.g. with a cold, flu or sickness bug) please reschedule rather than attend your appointment to prevent it spreading to other pre or postnatal families.
What to expect
After the chat and checks you'll be able to get comfortable for your massage. The set-up varies from place-to-place; some will treat you lying on a futon, others on a massage table side-lying or on a specially designed massage cushion designed for maternity and postnatal comfort. Personally I work with the individual client to see what's most going to benefit them. People who are early on in pregnancy often enjoy the feeling on being able to lie on their front and those later in pregnancy sometimes find treatment on their side or resting on a birth ball best.
As with all my classes, I feel that choice is important in massage. Beyond just how you lie for the treatment, only you know how you feel so you'll be invited to feedback during the session, unless you've asked for quiet which I would also welcome and respect. Some people like music, others prefer a darker space, some like the blended massage oil, others prefer plain - it's up to you. If you would prefer certain areas to be avoided that is fine too, just let me know.
What should I wear?
Whatever you are comfortable in. Some people just wear pants or pants and a bra, others feel more confident fully or partially clothed. All of these are fine. I keep a stock of maternity and breast pads and nipple cream here which clients are welcome to use. Please take off your jewellery for the massage - I have a safe place to keep it so you'll remember to take it home.
Be aware that clothes may get a little massage oil on them which does not always wash out easily.
You can talk as much as you like during the massage. Some people find it helpful to chat. I respect clients space and confidentiality so the room is yours. If you would like to find a counsellor or other specific help I can suggest ways to make that happen.
Part of the idea of coming for a massage is to relax. Sometimes that means people fall asleep during the session. I will carry on with the massage gently and wake you up at the end.
Come as you are
No need to feel like you have to dress or overly prepare for the massage. Just hop in the shower and rock up in your PJs if that's where you're at. I will not notice if your hair and nails haven't been done for weeks or if you haven't shaved. There is no need to apologise.
Pregnancy massage doesn't have to be mega-gentle. I know that most women come because they are experiencing aches and pains in the shoulders and back. As well as soothing the muscles I will work into those areas to help release tension. I only use light-touch lymphatic drainage for the legs in pregnant and postpartum women; it's effective for relieving swelling in the legs and safer than deep massage.
I use organic massage oil for pregnancy and postnatal massage. You can choose from a plain oil or the lovely NOMNOM Pregnancy Massage Oil which is safe through pregnancy, for use in labour and for breastfeeding mothers (although most choose to have no oils in the early days while they're establishing breastfeeding). Have a smell of the Pregnancy Oil when you're here and you can decide then. It's a blend of lavender, camomile and frankincense that's subtle, fresh and warm and is rapidly becoming a client favourite.
Massage in pregnancy and labour has amazing benefits in terms of releiving aches and pains and emotional wellbeing - plus some studies show it can also benefit babies.
"Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain. Cortisol levels decreased and, in turn, excessive fetal activity decreased, and the rate of prematurity was lower in the massage group."
Emilie Joy Rowell is a doula, antenatal teacher and pregnancy and postnatal yoga and massage specialist based in Frome, Somerset. She's the founder of motherslove and has been working with pregnant and postnatal families since 2008.