Prenatal Massage: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Relaxation
- Published: Tuesday, May 26th 2015
- in Living Well
Expecting mothers will likely all agree, carrying that little bundle of joy isn’t always so joyful. Back pain, discomfort, and fatigue are all associated with pregnancy and a great way to alleviate these discomforts is with a trip to the spa. While many spa treatments are safe for expecting mothers, including manicures, pedicures, and facials, perhaps the most beneficial and relaxing is prenatal massage.
Prenatal massage can relieve back pain and improve sleep and mood, as well as decrease stress and reduce labor complications. Prenatal massage is best given while you lie on your side propped up by pillows. Neck and shoulder massage is a safe sitting-up option, as well. Before booking your massage be sure to check that your therapist has extensive experience practicing massage on pregnant women and contact your doctor before your treatment to make sure she signs off on your trip to the spa.
Keep your day at the spa as carefree as it should be by keeping these precautions in mind:
- Avoid contrast hydrotherapy (alternating hot and cold pools or rooms). Constant temperatures are best.
- Skip hot baths, steam rooms, and saunas (traditional and infrared). Heat and sweat cause decreased blood flow (and blood to pool in your feet), which means the baby gets less oxygen, says Joel Evans, M.D., author of The Whole Pregnancy Handbook.
- Say no to body wraps, which cause perspiration and raise the core body temperature.
- Detoxifying body scrubs are a don’t. It’s possible that scrubs release toxins into the bloodstream, not a good idea when a very tiny person is sharing it! Instead: Try light body buffs for itchy and dry skin.
- Essential oils (concentrated plant extracts) are off-limits during the first trimester, according to Dr. Evans. It’s safe to reintroduce rose, lavender, and chamomile during the second trimester, as long as they’re diluted with twice the amount of carrier oil, but peppermint, rosemary, sage, and jasmine shouldn’t be used at all, Dr. Evans explains, because they can trigger uterine contractions. Some scents can also trigger nausea, so many spas offer scent-free products.
- Request a massage therapist who has been specifically trained in prenatal treatments. A qualified therapist will have completed a maternity course that teaches basics such as positioning and pressure points for pregnancy.
- Look for spas that offer special pregnancy services.
- Listen to your body and let the therapist know if you’re uncomfortable. Some spas use tables with cutouts to accommodate a pregnant belly, but prenatal support pillows are more adjustable and generally more comfortable. Either way, if you aren’t comfortable, ask to switch positions or alter the treatment. Also, speak up if you have to use the bathroom, even mid-treatment.
- Drink plenty of water throughout and after your spa visit.
- If you’re high-risk, check with your doctor before booking.
Book your next prenatal massage on spafinder.com.