Do you know that massaging a woman from 13 weeks onwards during her pregnancy is a fantastic way to keep a mum-to-be relaxed and comfortable as her growing body accommodates the new weight? The main benefits of regular safe and effective mama massages are:
Relief of pain
Improved circulation for mother and baby
Improved immune system for mother and baby
A more relaxed attitude towards giving birth, and thus better birth outcomes
Better bonding between mother and baby
Improved chances of carry the baby to full-term
A healthier and calmer baby of good weight
Improved skin condition
Relief of headaches and possibly nausea
Extras you will need:
A thin cushion or towel for under the belly
An two towels or sheets for draping
A pillow to hold on to
It’s to be noted here that lying flat on one’s abdomen or in any other way that exerts a great deal of pressure on the woman’s lower back and abdominal region (as pregnant bellies tend to do) could potentially cause pain or injury for the expecting mother.
Do not provide a massage service to women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant. Though it may not seem like the person you’re massaging is directly responsible for the subsequent miscarriage, they could cause insurance problems later on. It’s better to be safe than sorry. We recommend seeking another position in a company that values your work and ensures you will do well financially, with no added threats of legal action or unhappy clients!
It is possible to have a pregnant woman from 13-22 weeks of pregnancy laying on her back with a cushion under her right hip/ buttock, but any pregnant woman who is more than 22 weeks should not lie on her back for more than 3 minutes. She may be propped up to a seated position if you need to work on her front. Lying on her back after 22 weeks of pregnancy can put too much pressure against the main vein running up the right side of the spine, causing breathlessness in the mother and nutrient and oxygen restrictions to the baby.
When massaging a pregnant woman, it’s generally easier to have her lying on her side and massaging both sides of the back at the same time.
When lying on her side, the pregnant woman should have support under her knee and foot with a high enough cushion so that her hip is at a right angle while being supported properly by a firm yet steady cushion. This will help keep her hips aligned and prevent them from shifting to one direction or another while falling asleep.
If her belly is feeling as though it’s pulling while she is lying on her side, a pregnant woman will need a small pillow or towel under her belly to make herself more comfortable. Encourage the expectant mother to fine-tune this position however she finds most comfortable, bearing in mind that at twenty-two weeks pregnant, even the slightest shift in position can be critical… One hour on the couch could make all the difference.
Massage is a powerful stress-reliever and can even help in overall healing, especially during pregnancy. To really get good at massage though… you need to practice! One trick that helps beginning people work on their technique is to have the person getting the massage lie with their back close to a couch or other piece of furniture so that you have easy access to reach all areas during your session. It’s also important to make sure you’re warming up your hands and taking off any jewelry that might jingle or clank noisily against the pregnant belly as this is rude and distracting.
Once you have ensured that the blankets are tucked in and her leg is comfortable, you can then give your mother-to-be a pillow to hold on to like a teddy bear so as she doesn’t put any pressure on her growing tender breasts.
Have two large towels available so that you can drape the pregnant woman with care and attention. Make sure one towel covers her legs, tucking them into her undies down far enough so that you can work on massage places like around the hips. Drape another towel over her back from front to back. If your client gets hot it’s better to have a blanket over her as many pregnant women do get overheated at times. It’s best to ask if she wants her feet covered or uncovered when receiving a pregnancy massage because some might be ticklish in this area and others may just prefer their feet keeping warm without additional pressure being applied.
Make sure your pregnant client has a pillow underneath her belly. If it’s too high, she will either put it under her head or, in more drastic cases, you may even find that she has done so behind the neck to support herself, meaning the pillow is too low for her. On the flipside, if the pillow is too low for her she’ll likely raise up her head by using one hand, which can advance uncomfortable strain in her neck and spine area.
Every pregnant woman’s belly size is different and that sometimes it might be really big. Whether you’re giving a massage to a pregnant mother or one that’s not, it’s essential to keep the person lying on their side because it opens up better access to her back.
You can apply as much pressure as your client likes to the lower back when working on a pregnant woman. A lot of women seem to experience bad soreness in the neck, shoulders and legs during pregnancy, more specifically in the lower back region, so applying strength into a session may help release constricted muscle tissues. They may also complain about soreness around their shoulders and neck, which makes it important for you to be cautious during a massage session because too much pressure could worsen those existing aches.
The only place on the body to avoid massaging while pregnant is the inner thigh. A pregnant woman has 40% more blood in her body which is thicker and more prone to clotting. This is a great design feature for giving birth in case of hemorrhaging. In most cases, clots do not pose a threat but if you use pressure on your thighs and calves or any shaking/percussion moves on the legs you could accidentally cause a dangerous restriction of blood flow which would be problematic for mother and baby. Drinking lots of water will help prevent this from happening so make sure it’s a part of your daily routine!
It’s perfectly fine to massage a pregnant woman’s feet; as long as it isn’t too much pressure and you do not get too close to her pelvis or pituitary gland. Massaging the feet in pregnancy can help reduce the number of times one’s heart beats per minute, which affects blood pressure(Fisher, 2013). So you see there are true benefits to offer your clients.
Clients with water retention issues (puffy hands and feet) should be treated with extreme care.
Some pregnant women love having their bellies massaged, others dread the thought. Ask your client where she stands before you get started. To keep her comfortable, touch is kept to the outsides of her abdomen only, with an even pressure and no pushing or flicking of fingers.
No massage before 13 weeks (unless you’ve had specific training)
No massaging the inner leg
No shaking moves on the legs
No massage for any pregnant lady who is bleeding
Always ask if there has been any complications, nausea, bleeding and if all their scans and tests have come back good.
Always ask the client to tell you if there are any sore/painful spots… never make the massage so strong it’s painful. The baby gets the same as the mum, so if she’s in pain the baby will be also. There’s a difference between a strong massage that feels good and a strong massage that is painful but the client thinks it’s doing good.
When your clients look like they want some pampering, you need to seize the opportunity to show it. But don’t rush things, find out first if the woman would like her feet rubbed or an acupressure session on her back. However, avoid pressure points while you’re doing it and make sure that if she feels any discomfort, you stop immediately until she’s ready again.