Here at Yinova, we often get the question, “Is massage safe during pregnancy?” and we’re excited to tell you, “yes, it is!”
Massage therapy is an excellent health care modality for many different populations and many different conditions, but what about when it comes to pregnant patients? Is massage therapy a safe modality for them?
Two of our bodywork team members, Dr. Aileen Moy, and the manager of our bodywork program, Dr. Daryl Thuroff, are here to tell us more about how massage can help during pregnancy, all while being safe for you and your baby. We wanted to start by dispelling three common myths that we hear from our patients interested in creating a massage regimen.
Myth #1: You can’t get a massage during the first trimester.
Massage can be a great way to nurture your body during the first trimester as you are undergoing changes on many levels. It is the perfect time for us to continue working on pre-existing chronic pain conditions. It is also a great time to address stress reduction, relaxation and to help reduce any early pregnancy symptoms such as insomnia and nausea.
Working with a licensed massage therapist, trained in prenatal care, can help your body handle the changes that arise throughout your pregnancy as well as for labor support and beyond. As your center of gravity begins to shift, the work we do during the first and early second trimester can help to strengthen any weak ligaments or joints, making the transition easier on your body.
Myth #2: People who have had trouble conceiving or have had multiple miscarriages shouldn’t get massages in the first trimester.
While miscarriages are more common in the first trimester, you can still receive massage therapy. We do recommend seeing a licensed massage therapist who has advanced training in prenatal massage care. However, if there is a history of multiple miscarriages or a high risk of miscarriage, deep tissue massage may not be advised. During the bodywork consultation at Yinova, our licensed massage therapist will discuss your conception history and create a plan that works best for you. This may include energy work, light to moderate integrated massage techniques, or acupressure to ensure a safe and relaxing prenatal massage experience.
With that being said, we highly recommend obtaining a medical release form for patients with a history of recurrent miscarriage or other significant health concerns before incorporating massage work in your prenatal care.
Myth #3: Prenatal massage can’t help with labor.
While prenatal massage is helpful throughout pregnancy for decreasing things such as anxiety, pelvic pain, and elimination issues, it is also beneficial for supporting you through labor! Massage during labor has been shown to decrease pain and the need for medication and resulted in shorter labor by 3 hours!
Relaxing your muscles and ligaments will also prepare your body for easier labor and delivery and a faster recovery. The potential benefits can include:
- 25% shorter delivery time
- 30% less need for pain medication
- 50% fewer Cesarean births
- 60% fewer requests for epidurals
Contraindications for Prenatal Massage
While we’ve dispelled some common myths about prenatal massage safety, there are some contraindications that we’d like to highlight. For conditions like preeclampsia, deep vein thrombosis, or any concerns that may be affecting the placenta, we typically recommend getting your doctor’s approval before proceeding with a massage or waiting for these issues to resolve before coming to see us.
Like acupuncture, there are specific acupressure points that we stay away from throughout pregnancy (Liver 4, Spleen 6, Gallbladder 21, and reflexology points on the feet, to name a few.) While it’s safe to go over these areas during a massage briefly, we do not stimulate or emphasize pressure at these points until the mother is approaching her due date.
We also avoid deep abdominal work during pregnancy. Instead, we can employ light, energetic work on the abdominal surface of the body as it may be very supportive and nurturing. We also may not do deep, sustained pressure on the inner legs in the later stages of pregnancy. We do this as a precaution for any potential clotting that may form due to the changes in your body.
IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE CONCEIVING
Our Reproductive Health Bodywork Program is a comprehensive approach to bodywork for the menstrual cycle. It blends Eastern and Western modalities, making our sessions effective as individual treatments as well as the perfect accompaniment to your acupuncture treatment plan. The protocols we use were designed to help align the body with its innate endeavor to conceive. It is also helpful for addressing conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and PCOS that may be preventing conception.
Would you like to learn more? Give us a call or send us a message! We love what we do and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have!