Choosing the Right Prenatal Massage Therapist: Tips for Expecting Moms

Pregnancy is a wonderful and exciting time for any woman, but it can also be uncomfortable. Many women find relief from the aches and pains that accompany their pregnancy by receiving a professional prenatal massage. The key is finding a massage therapist who is experienced in prenatal care and knows how to modify traditional massage techniques to safely accommodate pregnant clients.

In order to ensure the safety of both mother and baby, it is important for a therapist to be certified in prenatal massage and familiar with the common issues that arise during a session. It is also a good idea to choose a therapist who has experience working with women in all stages of pregnancy, since the changes to the body as the pregnancy progresses can be quite dramatic.

The most important consideration is getting a massage from someone who can properly accommodate the client’s changing posture and body weight. For example, the use of a massage table with cutouts to allow a pregnant woman’s belly to rest is often necessary in prenatal massage to avoid overstretching the abdominal muscles. Similarly, the use of pillows to prop up the expectant mother during the treatment is helpful in relieving back pain and easing stress on the joints and spine.

A well-trained prenatal massage therapist should be able to answer all questions about proper positioning and can adjust the treatment as needed during the course of the session. The therapist should also be familiar with what kinds of essential oils and lotions are safe for use during pregnancy, as many have analgesic or calming properties that can make the session more relaxing.

Finally, it is important that a prenatal massage therapist understand the risks associated with certain positions and how to avoid them. The most serious danger is lying on the back in later trimester pregnancies, as this can put too much pressure on the uterus and disrupt blood flow to the placenta. Likewise, the therapist should be careful not to press on the areas around the ankles and feet (especially the big, second, and baby toes) in order to reduce the risk of complications such as varicose veins or blood clots.

In addition, a qualified prenatal therapist will be aware that it is usually not advisable to perform a full-body massage in the first trimester of pregnancy, as this can increase the risk of miscarriage. It is also wise to let the therapist know if you are experiencing any discomfort or have any health concerns, as he or she will need to be in close communication with you throughout the treatment to monitor your comfort level and safety.

In the late trimesters of pregnancy, a seated massage may be appropriate for some clients, especially if they are at a low risk for complications. However, if a woman is at a high risk for preeclampsia or a low gestational age, a full-body massage should not be performed until after the client has received clearance from her healthcare provider.