A massage is a great way to relieve tension and stress in your body but while pregnant, should you get a chair massage? According to reports, thousands of women are choosing to get prenatal massages while pregnant. The reasons vary from physical and mental benefits such as reducing water retention, anxiety, and fatigue for both mother and baby. But there is a risk factor in getting a chair massage.
Is It Bad to Get a Chair Massage While Pregnant? (Quick Answer)
There’s no evidence that chair massages are bad for pregnant women, but it’s always best to check with your doctor before getting any type of massage while pregnant. Some masseuses might not be familiar with the specifics of pregnancy massage and may inadvertently do something that isn’t safe for you or your baby.
What are the Risks of Getting a Massage While Pregnant?
First, understand that there are different types of prenatal massages. Each one is done differently, involving different techniques and touches. So, you should make sure to get the type that’s best for your needs. That said, here are some reasons why getting a massage while pregnant might not be a great idea:
1. Certain Prenatal Massages Can Be Risky
In general, the type of prenatal massage that has been shown to be safe during pregnancy is one performed on a massage table. This allows a woman’s body to be at a consistent height with the massage therapist’s body.
One study showed that pregnant women who got massages on a chair had more difficulty exhaling deeply, which could affect the oxygen supply to their babies.
2. Massages Can Trigger Labor
While labor may be a good thing, not every woman wants to have her baby before she’s ready. If your goal is to have your baby at a specific time, it may be best to ask your doctor about whether there are ways to encourage the baby to stay put.
3. Posture Can Be a Problem, Too
Keeping an incorrect posture during a massage may not have an immediate effect on you or your baby. But it’s possible that over time, these bad habits could lead to chronic neck and back pain and even problems with pelvic organ prolapse (when organs like the bladder, uterus, and rectum drop down into the vaginal canal).
4. Your Baby May Be Uncomfortable
One study showed that babies whose mothers had massages on a chair cried more than babies whose mothers didn’t get massages (though, of course, it’s hard to say if the distress was caused by the massage or the situation in general).
5. Your Massage Therapists Might Not Be Trained for Pregnancy Massage
Your massage therapist should always be trained in pregnancy massage so you can feel confident that she knows how to safely work on a pregnant body. And if the therapist is not familiar with the particulars of prenatal massage, it’s best to find someone who is.
In addition, some massage therapists think they’re helping a pregnant woman by doing abdominal work. But for most women, the uterus is above the belly button, and pressing on it may cause more discomfort. Always let your therapist know if you don’t want anything done to your abdomen.
What Women Need to Know Before Getting a Chair Massage While Pregnant?
There are no hard and fast rules for pregnant women, but if you’re interested in getting a massage while pregnant, keep the following in mind:
Check with Your Doctor
Your doctor should be aware of your plans to get a chair massage so he or she can advise you of precautions to take. For example, some doctors recommend avoiding getting a massage if you have any vaginal bleeding, placenta previa (when the placenta is blocking the cervix), or an incompetent cervix (when it opens too early in pregnancy).
And make sure your therapist knows not to stimulate your breasts.
Ask Questions About Technique
If you feel like something doesn’t feel right during your massage, speak up. You should also ask your therapist what type of chair she’s using and whether she has experience working with pregnant women before you commit to getting a massage on a chair.
Understand What Massages Can and Cannot Do
If your goal is to have labor induced, it’s probably best not to schedule an appointment for a massage. There is no evidence that massages can trigger labor, and there may be risks to the baby if contractions begin before labor is fully established.
However, some experts say that even though relaxation techniques haven’t been shown to encourage labor, they do increase a woman’s sense of well-being. This could possibly reduce her stress level, which may make it easier for her to deal with the discomfort of contractions.
Just remember that massages can’t magically turn you into a different person. If your goal is to have easy labor, don’t expect that one massage will help you achieve this goal because there are no guarantees that it will. Always speak with your doctor before deciding on a course of treatment.
Finally, some women find that even though they really enjoy getting massages during their pregnancies, the mood is often shattered by the realization that once the massage is over and it’s time to leave, their muscles start cramping up and aches and pains return with a vengeance. If this happens to you, consider scheduling appointments at the end of your pregnancy, when you’re least likely to experience discomfort after the massage.
Summary and Experts Opinion
With any massage, always be honest with your therapist about what you want and do not want. If a certain technique or position is uncomfortable or makes you feel less than safe, let your masseuse know immediately!
If she doesn’t fix the problem- find a new one. This also goes for pregnant women. Pregnancy can cause cramping and pain after a massage. However, if she can’t fix it or is clearly doing something that makes you uncomfortable- find a new one!
The best way to ensure a good experience while pregnant is honesty and communication between you and your therapist at all times. If certain types of massages make you uncomfortable while pregnant for any reason, speak up! If you’re not sure about certain techniques or positions, ask!