Say it with me: massages during ANY trimester of pregnancy are SAFE!
Whether you are 1 or 41 weeks, you can get a massage. All registered massage therapists in Ontario have been exposed to prenatal massage modifications during their post-secondary education. Some may continue their education in perinatal specific courses to enhance the application of massage during pregnancy. Therefore, you are always in good hands (pun intended) to help with physical discomforts, sleep disturbances and mental health issues that come with pregnancy.
There are positive outcomes with massage therapy during pregnancy, such as decreasing feelings of
prenatal depression, lowering cortisol levels and helping decrease back and leg pain (1) . Regular massage
therapy intervention is an effective adjunctive therapy and has shown to improve the overall health of
birth giver and infant, resulting in lower premature births, improved sleep, headaches, and mood
regulation (2) . Through a series of mild and moderately pressured techniques, a massage therapist can
ease your calf cramps, lower back pain, and relax your mind!
Now, let’s talk about positioning for pregnancy massage.
There are many factors to consider when getting on a table for a massage. Contemplate your level of nausea, blood pressure, amount of swelling, the changing belly size, and most importantly your comfort. Supporting your growing baby as well as you should be the top priority before getting started, and this support is achieved best through Side lying. It is typical for a massage therapist to use 4-5 pillows to achieve optimal comfort and allow you to rest your body and mind. As for being in the face-up position, you always want to be elevated. Finding a massage therapist who uses a wedge or has positioned you in a semi-reclined position is the most ideal during pregnancy.
You may be asking yourself why side lying and semi-reclined? These positions allow the therapist to get
all the vital areas that cause discomfort during pregnancy, while keeping you and baby safe. Side lying
allows access to all aspects of your legs, especially inner thigh which is directly linked to the pelvic floor.
The glutes, back, shoulders, arms, and neck can also be massaged in the side lying position. In the semi
reclined position, the massage therapist can access to your abdomen, diaphragm, chest, and neck.
Pregnant or not, side lying is a great position!
To recap, massage therapy should not be feared during any stage of pregnancy.
To recap, massage therapy should not be feared during any stage of pregnancy. Although, there are
some massage therapists who have continued their education into the perinatal world, any massage
therapist you see will have the knowledge to keep you safe during a pregnancy massage. Lastly, even if
given different options, just remember side lying and semi reclined are ALWAYS the optimal position for
support during a pregnancy massage.
Thank you to our guest blogger Caitlin Jerome, Registered Massage Therapist Owner of (Y) Wellness Mobile Massage
2 El-Hosary, E.A, Abbas Soliman, H.F, & El-Homosy, S.M. (2016). Effect of therapeutic massage on relieving pregnancy
discomforts. Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences, 5(4), 57-64.