Due to lack of information and myths surrounding pregnancy massage, an expecting mother may be unsure about the safety of massage during the first trimester. An inexperienced therapist may also feel quite nervous about treating clients at this time. Being treated by a therapist who is experienced and qualified in pregnancy massage can help a client to feel safe. Although remedial techniques are used in a pregnancy massage, it is not a remedial massage.
Most pregnancy trained practitioners would agree that, the risk of causing harm during the first trimester with massage therapy is extremely low. To cause an increase in risk, a therapist would have to work with inappropriately strong techniques which should not be used during the first trimester due to the increasing onset of nausea and changes in hormones.
Levels of the hormone relaxin are at their highest during the first trimester, so more care needs to be taken especially around the lower back, pelvis, sacral area and abdomen where the tissues are relatively softer and more unstable.
Pregnancy massage is a specialised treatment which requires the therapist to understand the different changes that the body is going through whether in the first, second, third trimester or postpartum. Understanding the complexities of pregnancy changes supports the therapist to achieve a great outcome of treatment and in some cases refer when needed.
Pregnancy is a time of change and instability, both emotional and physical. During the first trimester there may be some stress and anxiety about the well-being of the baby and about being pregnant. One of the most beneficial ways of supporting the first trimester is by reducing stress levels with exercise and Massage. There is no research to show that massage is harmful. Often women don’t even realise they are pregnant early on and may have already been seeing their therapist without harm. Massage is often no more vigorous than our normal day-to-day activities such as walking to work, going to the gym, continuing to engage in sexual activities, running around after toddlers or carrying heavy shopping.
The Complementary Therapies in Medicine Journal 42 (2019) published a study undertaken by Pregnancy Massage Australia on “The side effects and mother or child related physical harm from massage during pregnancy and the postpartum period: An observational study”. This study was carried out to explore the safety of massage during the first trimester and why women believed massage to be unsafe. The outcome of the study found that when massage was provided by a trained pregnancy massage therapist there was no harm caused to both mother or baby. The study showed that there was a significant decrease in stress, decrease in pain, increase in range of motion and improved sleep in the participants after their treatments.
There are many benefits of bodywork during the first trimester:
– Reduction of stress
– Increased relaxation
– Alleviation of early pregnancy symptoms including nausea and fatigue
– Encouragement of early pre-natal bonding
– Supporting self-awareness
– Encouraging good breathing
– Promoting well-being
As a therapist who specialises in pregnancy massage I am able to treat from the first trimester, which spans from conception to 13 weeks, to the end of the third trimester and Postpartum.
If you would like any more information on pregnancy massage please feel free to contact me.
I am here to create a safe, supported and nurturing environment for you and your baby.
- Complementary Therapies in Medicine- Volume 42, February 2019, Pages 89-94
- Suzanne Yates: Pregnancy and Childbirth- A holistic approach to massage and bodywork, Pages 228-231.
- Sarah Fogarty, Rebecca Barnett, Phillipa Hay: International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork- Safety and Pregnancy Massage: a Qualitative Thematic Analysis
Rebecca Orchard Remedial Massage
Level 1/16A Bolton Street, Newcastle