I often get asked about pregnancy massage, so I’ve put together my most frequently asked questions.
Is there specialised training for pregnancy massage?
Yes. Prenatal Massage Cert through the New Zealand College of Massage, and Pregnancy Massage Australia. They are all professional development certificates that therapists completed after their formal massage training. It enables therapists to provide more focused treatments. It means they can work with the different ailments that occur in each trimester. The techniques are a mix of relaxation strokes, myofascial muscle release and mobilisations/alignments that help your body change throughout pregnancy.
If a therapist has not had specific prenatal massage training, are they safe to go to?
Yes, if you are a non-complicated pregnancy and after 12 weeks because in a massage therapist standard training, they are taught a relaxation pregnancy massage.
But if you have more specific aches and pains, seek a prenatal therapist as they have specialised training to work with everything from hip pain, lower back pain, pubic symphysis dysfunction, and high-risk pregnancies.
How can I lie on the table with my pregnancy bump?
There is a range of options to get you comfy. These include:
A side-lying position with a large bolster and wedge pillow; or
wedging you up into a seated position.
You can lay on the table as usual with pillows till about 12-22wks depending on your health and bump.
Any (or all) of these positions can be used in a treatment to give you targeted relief. We decide together what positions will suit your body best to be comfortable throughout your session.
But after 22wks side-lying is the safest option as it prevents restriction of blood flow and stabilises your ligements.
Can pregnancy massage be firm?
Yes, it can be firm. If the therapist is trained in specific prenatal massage and how to work with your pregnancy anatomy, However, ‘firm’ feels different from person to person. Prenatal therapists work with specific muscle groups and ligaments to create shifts in your body – relieving aches and pains. They will regularly check-in to make sure the pressure is at the right level for you.
Just FYI, the firm does not necessarily mean ‘better. You have 30 -50% extra blood volume and 40% more interstitial fluid when you’re pregnant. This can mean you won’t feel touched in the same way. While this may tempt you to ask for a firmer massage, firmer pressure can easily bruise you during pregnancy, so we work together to avoid this :)
I heard I am not supposed to get my ankles or shoulders massaged when I am pregnant. Is this true?
No. There are acupressure points in the ankle and the upper shoulders. These points are particular and require direct pressure to stimulate them. Acupressure trained therapists know what the dept of pressure is needed to activate these points and will only use them after 37weeks before working instead on muscles and fascial release.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to email Lauryn Johnston.