I have had many clients come back from their baby moon with horror stories about a "prenatal massage" they received on vacation. These tales include $150+ per one hour prenatal massage (at a nice resort) that was not only horrible but scary!
1. The spa didn't have a prenatal massage intake (don't they want to know about any high risk or health issues?)
2. The massage therapist asked her to lay face down on the table at 5 month pregnant
3. My client had to teach them about side lying position!
4. They just rubbed lotion on her skin. No pressure. No relief.
5. The therapist seemed nervous.
6. They wouldn't massage her feet.
7. They asked her to lay flat on her back (no incline)
ALL BAD SIGNS!
If for any reason you go anywhere else for prenatal massage, these are the questions you should get answered BEFORE YOU SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT.
If the therapist/staff cannot answer these questions, or don't answer them satisfactorily, be warned: You may get a bad pregnancy massage!
BASIC QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK BEFORE YOU SCHEDULE A PRENATAL MASSAGE, ANYWHERE!
1. Has the massage therapist completed additional prenatal massage training besides the basic requirements to become a certified massage therapist? Meaning is he/she prenatal massage certified? (Most certified massage therapists have only received 1-2 hours of training max as a standard)
2. How many pregnant women has this therapist actually worked on? (I would hope the answer is 30 or more).
3. What percentage of the therapist's clientele are expectant mothers? (Good answer is 35% or more.)
4. What kind of positioning and equipment do you use during a prenatal massage, so that she is comfortable and safe?
Answer should be:
"We lie you on your side with body cushions/pillows"
We use a face down Body Cushion. Some massage therapists say it is "risky." It is not. We know how to do it right. Our cushions can be custom to mold to different to size bellies and body shapes. We are trained to work with mamas always adjusting and modifying to see if this is a comfortable and good option for them. Note that we also go over your health intake to determine if this is the ideal position for YOU. Read more about face down prenatal massage here
Our client base consists of pregnant midwives, pregnant physical therapists, pregnant obstetricians, pregnant chiropractors, pregnant labor and delivery nurses... they can not see one single safety issue with the proper use of face down body cushions in a normal pregnancy. Again, this option is good IF the therapist is extensively trained in prenatal massage/prenatal anatomy, high risk pregnancy and educated in positioning for pregnancy.
JUST SAY NO to "Pregnancy Massage Tables".
If they DO offer a face-down option, make SURE it is NOT a table with a hole in it.
Tables with holes do not adjust for tall or short or heavy or skinny women or belly size or breast size. They strain and cramp the lower back, and they also create pressure on the breasts. They let the belly hang, straining back and uterine ligaments and may put pressure on the fundus.
Less-than-acceptable answers to question #4: What kind of positioning and equipment do you use during a prenatal massage, so that she is comfortable and safe?
a. Nothing. Pregnancy massage is the same as any other massage and doesn't require any special considerations.
b. We have special pregnancy tables with holes in them for your belly and breasts.
c. Flat on your back or flat on your belly.
d. We sit you up in a chair.
5. Do you have a special prenatal massage intake form I will fill out when I get there?
As a therapist working with pregnant women, you MUST know about her health and how the pregnancy is going. Not all pregnancies are the same! There are so many changes happening in the body during pregnancy and postpartum, massage techniques must be modified for each pregnant mama.
Here are OUR answers to the questions above:
1. We are all licensed and certified massage therapists. In addition to that, we have advanced training in prenatal massage. Some of us have even more extensive training in abdominal prenatal massage, Maya pregnancy massage, labor massage, and doula training. We all continue education each year in order to be up to date and best serve our clients.
2. Our therapists have worked on hundreds, some on several hundred pregnant clients.
3. 85% or our clients are pregnant.
4. We offer a comfy side lying position on a tempurputic table, special pillows and cushions. Upon request we use the face down cushion after we consider any health concerns of the client and if this position is comfortable for them.
5. We have a prenatal massage intake.
There are so many restrictions while pregnant. So much you cannot do, eat, and drink! Prenatal massage is something you can indulge in that is good for you and baby! It has a number of benefits! Make sure you find a great prenatal massage therapist and live it up (safely)!