Pregnancy Massage is appropriate for just about everyone as they go through the pregnancy year, but I have a form that explains the risks and benefits that I ask clients to read and sign before your appointment, available here. If you have any health concerns, you can use this form to talk to your midwife or doctor before your appointment.
Massage during the First Trimester...
is almost exactly the same as massage that you would get if you were not pregnant. You can get massage lying face-up, facedown, or on your side, comfortably supported by cushions. The main practical differences are that I avoid working on areas of your body that have points in them that are believed to cause contractions and avoid any rhythmic movements that might exacerbate nausea. You may feel extra tired during this stage and massage can be relaxing and energizing. If you have a normal pattern of tension showing up in your body, this can be a great time to address it so it doesn't deepen later in pregnancy.
The Second Trimester...
is when the structural changes of the growing baby can start to cause pain and strain as your center of gravity shifts and your joints and muscles start to compensate, especially in your back, shoulders, neck, hips and ribcage. Sometimes as the ribcage tightens, your breath might start to feel restricted. In massage, we can work on these muscles directly so you feel less out of breath. You can get massage lying on your side, comfortably supported by cushions, in a seated position, or semi reclining (lounge-chair position), supported by cushions.
In The Third Trimester...
your center of gravity inches even farther forward, and this sets off a cascade of musculoskeletal compensation:
- Pelvis tips
- The low back scrunches short
- Hip and butt muscles clench up to hold you upright
- The ribcage gets tight, which can constrict breathing
- Often our heads pull forward creating neck strain
These postural changes are temporary adaptations, but when these muscles don't get a chance to relax over the course of weeks, they get sore and strained, which can make it can be hard to sit, stand and sleep, as well as causing headaches, back and hip pain. Side-sleeping can also be hard on your hips, shoulders and neck, making it hard to get enough rest. Massage can reduce the muscle strain and help your muscles feel stronger, nimbler and more pliable so you can have an easier time with sleep, exercise and labor.
massage can be much harder to schedule, but can feel very necessary! Your body and your life undergoes the rapid changes and recovers from birth while also having a new baby in your family. Massage can help facilitate your healing, support your emotional health, help you feel grounded in your body.