Pregnancy and massage myths have been floating around for decades, probably centuries. It is likely that a woman has heard a myth or two about receiving massage during her pregnancy! Some of the most common prenatal massage myths and misconceptions you may have heard of:
Massage can cause miscarriages in the first trimester (Usually the number one concern for women)
A pressure point located around the ankle or massage in general can induce labour (No scientific evidence on this one!)
Pregnant women cannot receive massage because they cannot lay on their belly. (Yes you can!)
Massage therapists can help with a baby in breech. (Out of their scope of practice!)
It is completely understandable to question the safety and efficacy of massage therapy during pregnancy, especially if you are pregnant for the first time, or have previously experienced loss. However, there is no sufficient scientific evidence supporting these myths, and prenatal massage is considered safe (read more about prenatal massage efficacy here).
In fact research shows that prenatal massage can be quite beneficial by reducing prenatal depression, reducing pain and anxiety during childbirth as well as decreased labour complications. Other benefits of prenatal massage include: improving circulation, decreasing swelling, and reducing low back, hip, joint and nerve pain.
Maintaining Safety during Prenatal Massage
Safety during prenatal massage will come from good communication from both client and therapist, as well as modifying or omitting techniques throughout each trimester as necessary. The first trimester (0-13 weeks) for women can also be the highest risk of experiencing a miscarriage and this is probably one of main concerns women may be hesitant to receiving massage therapy. Your body has amazing protective measures against physical disturbances including many layers of muscles, fascia, the uterus, and the amniotic sac.
It is still important to let your RMT know you are pregnant in the early stages (or if you think you might be). You can start to discuss modifications of your treatment to make you feel comfortable.
Some pregnancy massage modifications can include:
- Avoiding deep abdominal massages, avoiding stimulating the uterus (visceral techniques)
- Gentle joint mobilizations around the lumbar-pelvic region
- Decreased pressure over the low back
- Treatments within your pain tolerance
- Avoiding extreme heat with heat pads
As you progress into your second and third trimester that typically means a risk in a miscarriage decreases. Your RMT may begin to offer you more treatment options like abdominal massage (a great way to access and treat rib pain during pregnancy). If you are considered a high risk pregnancy, make sure to talk with your doctor first before receiving massage.
Our skilled therapists will discuss a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Our goal is to help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Book today!