Prenatal and Postpartum Massage FAQ
How soon can I get prenatal massage?
You can get a massage any time during your pregnancy. I am especially trained to treat people at ALL STAGES of pregnancy. During the first trimester I will be extra gentle.
Early pregnancy can be easy for some, but many face a lot of discomfort. Massage can ease nausea, swelling, neck and back pain, and exhaustion. I will not use heavy pressure on the abdomen, sacrum (back of hips), or put pressure on certain acupressure points on your inner ankle, webbing of your thumb, or on a particular point on the top of the shoulder during early pregnancy. While it is generally safe to be touched anywhere, I want to be extra careful.
How late can I get a prenatal massage?
As late as you want massage and your doctor says it is safe! Many birth workers, such as doulas, massage their clients during labor. And while you may not want to travel during early labor, massage is absolutely safe, and can in fact help promote an easier, more comfortable labor and post-partum period. In particular, many birth workers and midwives recommend regular (weekly) massage for the last 4-6 weeks of pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait! Receiving massage throughout your pregnancy helps with common pains, circulation, cramping, shortness of breath, fetal positioning, and much more.
Can I lay on my stomach during the massage?
At the Garden of Wellness, I treat pregnant people who are past 16 weeks on their sides, and/or on their backs at a 45 degree incline. Side-lying is especially beneficial because it allows the therapist to provide deep pressure (as desired) on the hips, low back, and neck, which often are uncomfortable in pregnancy. I use a specific set up of pillows and supports that creates proper alignment during pregnancy, which is difficult to achieve face-down, even with a “pregnancy table” (usually a table with a hole in the center). I can treat you on your stomach and flat on your back up to 16 weeks, but if you feel in any way uncomfortable I happy to adjust positioning, and will never make you stay in a position that feels uncomfortable. I have guidelines that tend to be comfortable, but we always take direction from you!
I am considered a “high risk” pregnancy. Can I still receive massage?
The best thing to do is to ask your doctor or midwife. I am highly trained, and are comfortable treating people who have been assessed with high risk pregnancies as long as massage is indicated by your primary obstetrics practitioner. Massage can be very beneficial to relieve stress, help reduce symptoms of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, pelvic pain, and other common concerns.
How soon after I give birth can I receive massage?
It is generally safe to receive massage any time after giving birth, however, most doctors and midwives recommend staying as close to home as possible for at least the first four-six weeks after giving birth, to allow your body time to heal. As soon as you are comfortable travelling, you can come receive massage, and many people find this very beneficial. If you are having acute pains that your primary provider says can be helped by massage, but are not able to travel, I may be able to provide a home visit depending on your location.
I had a cesarean section, can massage help?
Massage by a professional as well as self-massage can make an enormous difference in healing a cesarean incision! I wait until the incision is healed (typically 6-8 weeks) before applying direct pressure, although you might find that applying vitamin E oil, calendula oil, or olive oil yourself even earlier can ease discomfort. It is also NEVER TOO LATE to start treating a cesarean incision scar! I have had success treating scars as long as 40 years after the incision, with massage making a significant difference, especially with the addition of home self-care.
Can I bring my baby to the massage?
Being separated from your baby, especially early on, can be difficult, and sometimes impossible. I support all parents, and are happy to treat you with your baby up to three months old. It is easiest to treat parents with breastfeeding babies who are not yet crawling, as the baby tends to breastfeed a bit during the massage. However, parents in all situations are more than welcome, and I happy to help in any way I can to make you and your baby the most comfortable. I often treat you side-lying with the baby next to you, or I can treat you inclined on your back with the baby resting on your chest. Some babies even sleep in a carrier or a stroller the whole time.