In the majority of cases, yes. I have had advanced training in prenatal massage and will work with you to create a wonderful massage session. With the exception of deep work in the legs and belly, we can do the exact same work we would have done before you were pregnant (just from a different angle).
If you have concerns or your pregnancy has been categorized by your midwife, nurse or ob/gyn as "high risk," please call me to discuss your pregnancy so that we can determine what work is appropriate or can consult with your health care provider if necessary.
Yes!* Everywhere but your legs and belly.
Areas of pain or chronic tension often benefit from deeper, more focused work. (Deeper isn't always better, but sometimes it is.) If we decide deeper work is called for, our aim is to persuade the tissue to change, to let go, not going past the "hurt so good" range. Most of us have some areas that prefer deeper work and other areas that are happier with more moderate work.
Many spas forbid deep tissue during prenatal massage, so you end up feeling like you paid someone to just put lotion on you. (That's how they teach it in massage school and why you want someone with advanced training and lots of experience.) I've worked with hundreds of pregnant women and I'm not afraid to "dig in" when necessary. I know how to do it safely and effectively. You're in good hands! (*If you are too "high risk" for deep tissue, you likely won't be cleared for massage anyway. I've seen this twice in 20 years.)
If the pregnancy is progressing normally, women can safely receive massage at any time during their pregnancy -- from when they suspect they may be pregnant right up until the due date and then even past due (although I hope that won't happen to you).
Having said that, a reasonable number of pregnant women don't want to come in for bodywork during the first trimester. Between fatigue and nausea, it's just not appealing.
If it does sound appealing though, I hope you'll consider getting massage in your first trimester because women who receive prenatal massage have measurably reduced levels of stress hormones and report fewer mood swings and less physical discomfort and fatigue. (Here's what the science says.) If you are having muscular discomfort, how nice to have it worked on rather than having to wait for the 2nd trimester.
(Alas, no. But wouldn't it be lovely if it could? no more Pitocin for late babies.)
It is safe for me, or your loved ones, to massage your feet and ankles. It's a lovely thing to do for an uncomfortable pregnant person.
While there are acupuncture/acupressure points on the body that can have an effect, we won't be sticking needles in them or holding with pressure for a long period of time. Running over them in the course of a massage is fine. (The best indicators: our industry liability insurance isn't concerned and Pitocin is still widely used.)
I have a special set of cushions that can be customized to each woman's individual shape and size. These cushions will accommodate you up to full term and are wonderfully comfortable. Side-lying and semi-reclining positions are the healthiest options for you and your baby
The tables with cut-outs for the breast and belly (invented by the spa industry, rather than by experts in pregnancy massage) are not recommended. Being face down puts additional stress on your uterine and pelvic ligaments, shortens already challenged back musculature, and may lead to an increase in intrauterine pressure.
Tipping is not necessary. The best way to show your appreciation is to return for another massage, recommend me to your friends, purchase gift certificates, or post a review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook. All of those things allow me to help the greatest number of people while doing work that I love.
Please refer to the separate page What to Expect from Your Massage for general information and glance over the rest of the FAQs. You are welcome to call me with any questions you have.
I have been doing prenatal massage since 2002 and am certified in prenatal massage through the nationally-recognized Nurturing the Mother training program. I stay current on the latest research related to massage and pregnancy through reading, classes, webinars, and other continuing education opportunities. Read more here.
Not if you give me good feedback. The type of work that I do focuses on relaxation and relief of chronic muscle tension, so the highest pressure I ever want to use is "hurts-so-good" and then only if the client chooses it. Most bodies have some areas that want deep pressure and areas that don't. We'll figure that out in the health intake and also as the massage progresses.
Ideally, pregnant clients will undress down to a pair of loose underpants. If you prefer to wear a bra, please wear one that unfastens in the back to allow easier access to your midback and shoulders. If you feel more comfortable wearing more, most techniques can be modified to work through clothing (so don't let modesty prevent you from getting the pain relief you need).
Undressed is a safe option, because I leave the room while you undress and you get under the sheet before I come back into the room. I then fold back the sheet to work each area and then replace the sheet. This protects your modesty and your warmth. Breasts and genitals remained covered at all times.
Many women follow the same schedule as they have for their prenatal visits. Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal massage a month. Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal massage every 2 weeks. Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week. But, like many things in life: it depends.
There are so many factors that affect the answer, but the main thing to consider is: how stressed and/uncomfortable are you? While your comfort depends largely on what trimester you are in, many structural/skeletal issues, pre-existing concerns, and lifestyle issues play a role. I'll provide you some general guidelines, but checking in with your own body's comfort/discomfort or sense of "overwhelm" will be your best way to tell when it's time for a massage.
Being on a regular schedule will give you the greatest benefits, but even a single session can accomplish a lot.