5 tips for a safe and enjoyable pregnancy massage

There can be no better time for a relaxing massage than when expecting a baby. Whether releasing an aching back or increasing oxygen flow to the womb, there are multiple benefits at all stages of your pregnancy. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your pre-natal massage whilst keeping you and your child protected from any risk.

1) Choose an experienced practitioner specifically trained in pregnancy massage. Even if you have a regular masseur, you may want to use someone else during this time. There are particular pressure points that should be avoided during pregnancy. Although you may be feeling more flexible due to the relaxin hormone, you may also be more sensitive to touch. A trained masseur will be aware of these issues and will be able to care for you appropriately.

2) Your comfort is a priority. Where possible, find a practice with a dedicated pregnancy massage table (with a hole for your belly as well as for your face). If this is not available, or you find the weight of the baby uncomfortable when pulling downwards, you can be massaged lying on your side. Ensure you are supplied with sufficient pillows and rolled towels to support your belly in this position. The room should be a pleasant temperature, but as you will be feeling warmer than a regular client, you may need to ask for heaters to be turned off or the air con to be turned on. If you are in your final trimester and find manoeuvring on the table difficult, ask the masseur to provide a step and help you when turning.

3) Ask your masseur about a choice of aromatherapy oils. You do not want a scent that triggers morning sickness, so a fragrance-free oil or one whose smell you can tolerate is crucial. Check too that the oil does not contain retinoids. Some experts recommend that pregnant women avoid these vitamin A-containing skin-care ingredients. Studies have shown that high doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to an unborn child. Although no research yet says topical application will cause issues, it is still wise to steer clear of them if possible.

4) When offered a post-massage drink, you are advised to stick to water. Many massage clinics offer their clients a cup of green tea before or after a massage, but green tea contains high amounts of caffeine and is also said to reduce folic acid absorption.

5) As well as drinking water, take a snack for after your massage. This is particularly important in the first trimester when morning sickness is at its strongest. Nausea can become worse after manipulation, and it will have been more than an hour since you last snacked. A banana or some dried fruit would be ideal. If you feel light-headed when you sit up after the massage, ask your masseur to bring your bag to you and eat something before getting off the table.

Use these tips to stay safe and alleviate any concerns and you can lie back and enjoy the luxury of a massage at a time when you deserve it more than ever.