• What You Need to Know About Booking a Pregnancy Massage

    pregnant woman receiving massage

    photo courtesy ABMP

    Booking a massage when you’re pregnant isn’t rocket surgery, but it isn’t as simple as when you’re not pregnant. Your therapist needs to know certain things about this pregnancy, previous pregnancies, medical history, medications, and supplements you’re taking. Even if you’re only getting a relaxation massage.
    You can greatly improve your chances of a wonderful experience by following a few easy steps when booking your massage and filling out your paperwork.

    How to Book A Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage

    When booking:

    • Tell the person making the appointment that you’re pregnant – This might seem obvious but it’s amazing how many women forget to mention this little fact. And it’s an important little fact because:
      • Not all therapists do pregnancy massage, so… If you’re booking at a spa or wellness center that has multiple therapists, this allows the receptionist to book you with someone who actually does this service. If you’re booking with a therapist who has a solo practice, this allows them to tell you if they don’t do prenatal massage and to (hopefully) refer you to someone who does.
      • It also lets us have the room and table set up properly when you arrive. That means we can get started right away instead of hunting down all the pillows and/or bolsters that we’re going to need while you stand there awkwardly staring at us… or staring daggers at us… depending on how nice a person you are.
      • There are many massage products that contain ingredients which are contraindicated for use during pregnancy. We will make sure to NOT use those if we know you’re pregnant. So if you’re 8 weeks but aren’t telling people yet, please tell your massage therapist so they can use products that are safe for you and your little one. Most state licenses and professional codes of ethics require confidentiality so we won’t be telling anyone that we even saw you as a client nevermind that you’re going to have a baby.
    • When making the appointment tell us how many weeks along you are – If you’re 39 weeks pregnant, we’ll need considerably more pillows, bolsters, and other aids than we will if you’re only 13 weeks pregnant.
    • If you have specific, pregnancy-related work that you need done, please mention that when booking – A lot of therapists do prenatal massage, but they’re not all trained to work on some of the more specific issues like your round ligament pain. By mentioning this when booking, you’ll be matched with a therapist who has the knowledge and skills you need. If a therapist isn’t trained in the work you need, it’s better to be disappointed when booking (and have to find another therapist or spa or wellness center) than to arrive at your appointment thinking you’re finally going to get relief only to find that your therapist can’t perform the work. That’s not just disappointing, that’s ugly cry disappointing. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman who’s had round ligament pain.

    Filling Out the Massage Paperwork When You’re Pregnant

    • Please list ALL of your allergies – You should do this whether you’re pregnant or not because seasonal, food, and medication allergies are important for us to know. Many products we use have ingredients that come from these allergen categories. For instance, ginger (food), chamomile (seasonal – it’s related to ragweed), and birch (medication – it has the same chemical, salicylic acid, as aspirin) are common additives to the massage oils and topical analgesics that we use.
    • Please list ALL of your medications and supplements – Again, you should do this no matter the state of your uterus. Medications and many supplements have effects and possible side-effects that affect the neuromuscular systems we work with. Some can cause muscle pain, easy bruising, dull your perception of pain, or cause any number of other issues. We need to be aware of your medications and supplements in order to give you a safe massage and not activate or exacerbate any potential side effects.
    • Please list ANY complications you are having with this, or previous, pregnancies – If you have gestational diabetes, we need to know. Same goes for a history of preeclampsia, edema, placenta previa, high blood pressure, or any other complication you may have or have had with previous pregnancies. Here are just a few reasons this is need to know information:
      • Diabetes (whether type I, type II, or the gestational variety) can cause changes to the way you body reacts to or perceives certain massage techniques.
      • Edema can be exacerbated or even brought on by aggressive massage and bodywork techniques. If you tell us you’ve had edema with your other pregnancies, even if you don’t have it currently, we’ll make sure to use techniques that aren’t likely to trigger it.
      • If you have preeclampsia, or have a history of it with other pregnancies, we may need to modify some of the techniques we use so we don’t risk raising your blood pressure or bringing on edema.
      • If you have placenta previa, you can still get a massage (YAY!), but we need to avoid doing any abdominal work on you.

    If you follow these few simple suggestions, you have a much better chance of having a relaxing and pain relieving prenatal massage.

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