Pregnancy Massage – Busting the Myths.
Massage is such a wonderfully supportive therapy.
It is a treatment that has truly evolved away from being an occasional luxury. It is commonplace now that Massage is a necessity for many in their sports recovery as well as their stress management.
The same stands true for pregnancy Massage. The treatment is helpful in alleviating over all tension, fluid and releasing those aches and pains.
However we find that there are so many concerns around pregnancy massage so today, we’re busting the myths.
Pregnancy Massage should be enjoyed and benefited from.
Myth 1 – Pregnancy massage can lead to miscarriage in the first trimester.
Let me start straight off the bat that thankfully there is absolutely no evidence to support this. More importantly there is no recorded case linking pregnancy massage to a miscarriage.
The first weeks in pregnancy are a delicate time. Given that the likelyhood of miscarriage is highest during this time, the concern is understandable.
The fetus is well protected in the mothers womb. There are layers upon layers of muscle, fascia, organs, bones and skin that keep it protected. Additionally the size of the fetus itself at 12 weeks is only about that of a plum.
For our clients we usually recommend the following:
– If you’ve previously regularly had massage, then continue with it. Your body even in the early stages is undergoing so many changes that the Massage will assist in calming the nervous system and alleviating any unusual aches and pains.
– If you’ve previously never had a Massage and are concerned, then wait until you are at 12 weeks. Use heat packs and stretch gently to ease any tension or see a Pregnancy Chiropractor to help in this time.
– If you fall into a high risk category of pregnancy, then make your decision under the advisement of your GP.
Again, there is no evidence to support miscarriage, but it is more important that you feel comfortable with your decision.
Myth 2 – Massaging the feet and ankles will induce labour
Ladies, this is most definitely a myth! With 13+ years of pregnancy massage and hundreds of pregnant mums massaged during this time, not once has a labour been brought on here.
We’ve even consulted with OBGYN and they too confirm this is a myth!
In saying that, there is an explanation that is warranted here.
This myth stems from there being acupressure points around the ankle that are said to stimulate labour.
In order to stimulate these points a direct, specific level of pressure is required. The intention behind the action is also required.
Any qualified massage therapist will know not to directly stimulate these areas. Any massage techniques used here are often gentle effleurage techniques designed to feel good and decrease fluid retention. Massaging the soles of your feet is also totally acceptable. The intention here is to release the tension and reduce any residual cramps.
So rest assured that there is absolutely no issue at all that you need to be worried about. Enjoy your massage and benefit from the decrease in fluid in your ankles.
Myth 3 – Massaging your calves can release blood clots.
Whilst it is true that this could be a risk to anyone, this risk is incredibly low.
In the case of pregnancy massage, circulatory changes in the body can increase a likely hood of clots, the recommendation is to avoid deep tissue techniques in the calves and inner thigh. It is otherwise perfectly acceptable to be massaged in this area.
If you are being treat for DVT or have just had a long haul flight then be sure to advise your therapist of these issues. We can then create an alternate treatment plan to meet your needs.
We generally do recommend that you include your calves in a massage as it helps reduce cramping. With such a prevalence of cramps during pregnancy, the massage can decrease the after effects and ease tension to prevent future cramps
Myth 4 – You can’t have a massage during pregnancy because you can’t lie face down.
The biggest concern we face in pregnancy massage is simply how best we can make you comfortable.
Many clinics have the option of supporting you so you can lie face down. This may come in the form of a specialised massage table or with contoured peices of foam that allow you to comfortably lie face down. These options often come in two sizes for the stages of pregnancy.
If at any point in time you are uncomfortable we then switch to you lying on your side.
The biggest thing to remember in a pregnancy massage, is that it is all about you. Us, the therapists then do whatever it takes to make you comfortable.
Myth 5 -Massage can help relieve your fluid retention.
This myth is true, but the answer isn’t always black and white.
And that is because it depends on your body.
For the most part you will experience temporary relief of any fluid, most notably in your legs.
The degree to which you experience fluid reduction does depend on the stage of your pregnancy, your overall mobility and health.
Any decrease in fluid retention here will be beneficial, albeit temporary.
Myth 6 – Massaging your pregnant belly can turn a breech baby.
Whilst there is a technique applied by doctors to turn a breech baby, this is not something massage therapists do. Our level of qualification does not allow for this and it is definitely beyond our scope to do so.
If you are in a massage and are receiving a forceful massage of your belly then ask them to cease immediately.
Any application of massage to your belly should only gentle and relaxing in nature.
During a massage the baby will either wake up and stir or they are fast asleep. Massaging the tummy will further aide in their relaxation.
So enjoy it without the concern of any harm.
There you have it. These are our most common pregnancy Massage myths!
Go and enjoy a massage during your pregnancy.
You deserve it.
Know that it will not only help you relax and sleep but that it will aide any soreness you may be experiencing.