If you happen to know anyone from the massaging community, there are two statements you will hear very often: A pregnant woman cannot get a massage until she is 20 weeks into her pregnancy, and it is wrong to massage the feet or ankles of a pregnant woman. Please note that both of these statements are grossly erroneous. There is a great deal of skepticism around prenatal massage that has led many expecting mothers to think twice about incorporating it as part of their prenatal care.
Numbers paint a different picture
If you look at this issue from purely a statistical perspective, the numbers paint a very different picture. It is said that 64% of the women who received CAM treatments such as massage therapy prior to their pregnancy continued the routine even during the pregnancy. A pregnant woman wants the same massage care when she books in for a session, and it is not fair to deny them their just rights based on certain unsubstantiated myths, false information, or any other misinformation as such.
What is the source of all these myths?
It is not only the massage therapists who are behind spreading myths surrounding pregnancy massage – online pregnant women’s forums, beauty schools, massage schools, and even gynecologists often unwittingly promote such misbeliefs.
In her article about the misinformation concerning pregnancy massage, Leslie Stager spoke at length about the possible origin of these myths. She found that in the early part of the 20th Century, at a time when home birthing and midwives were gradually being replaced by proper medical care, people identified pregnancy as a fragile and dangerous condition during which many activities were rendered potential adversaries to healthy living.
Though the 1970s and 80s went back to home births using some less intimidating methods, massage therapists continued to red-flag pregnancy massage for some unknown reason. The belief remained that the slightest touch would bring grave damage to the wellbeing of both the pregnant mother and her baby.
It was only during the 1990s that evidence to support prenatal massage benefits was found and widely accepted by the masses, thus busting some of the preconceived myths about pregnancy massage.
Myths surrounding pregnancy massage
- Massage is responsible for a miscarriage:
This myth is often the foundation for most of the other prenatal massage myths and is in total ignorance of common sense. Many causes can lead to a miscarriage, but any evidence is yet to be found that lists massage as a cause. It is all down to individual mindset and the fear of litigation prevalent among the massage therapists.
There seems to be a belief that a pregnant woman suffering a miscarriage after receiving a prenatal massage will sue the therapist though evidence of a successful lawsuit in this regard does not exist.
- A pregnant woman should not be massaged during the first trimester:
There seems to be a connection between this myth and the first one and could be put down to the fact that 80% of miscarriages are recorded within the first three months of pregnancy.
However, many massage therapists would have had sessions with a pregnant woman in her first trimester without ever realizing that she was pregnant in the first place. Clinical or research-supported reasons that suggest a woman should not be touched during her first trimester are non-existent.
- Massage should not be done during the complete period of pregnancy:
This is a myth borne largely out of fear and could have been derived from the belief that a pregnant woman is something very fragile that could end up with horrible outcomes at the slightest of touch. Only if genuine signs of prenatal massage contraindications are present should it be avoided.
Else no evidence exists to suggest that pregnant women should not undergo massage treatment. When you look for NYC massage for pregnant women for New York residents, there will be many private and state-owned massage clinics or treatment centers where you can easily receive safe and effective prenatal massage to relieve extra stress and pain in the body.
- Massage should not be done over the abdomen:
If the partner of a pregnant woman can rub her belly, how does one justify preventing a professional massage therapist from doing so? Men happily give their pregnant partners belly rubs without being aware of such massage myths. A pregnant woman who already has kids will tell you just how often her little ones cuddle, sit on, kick, or hit that belly.
- No massaging over the lumbar region:
This myth often gets restricted to the period of the first trimester largely due to its unproven miscarriage links. Pregnant ladies are experiencing lower back pain often rub their own backs without fearing any harm to the baby. Which form of common sense says that a professional massage therapist doing so will result in harm?
- Specific prenatal massage qualifications are necessary for massaging pregnant people:
Massage therapists have the necessary training to treat their clients in many different ways but do not undergo specialized training for treating those with unique medical conditions. There is always an opening for them to undertake further studies on how to massage pregnant women if they wish to become specialists, but this is not a mandate or prerequisite for giving massage to a pregnant lady.
- The medical practitioner needs to give clearance for the prenatal massage:
In keeping with these misbeliefs, a gynecologist may advise the patient against prenatal massage, but the massage therapist is well within his rights to defer. Unless a specific issue presents itself, clearance for a pregnancy massage is not necessary. A comprehensive pre-treatment checkup will usually shed light on potential issues.
- Massaging the ankles and feet can result in pre-term labor or miscarriage:
No evidence is available to suggest that massaging the feet or ankles of a pregnant woman can result in miscarriage. Studies have shown that even acupuncture needles have not succeeded in finding any point that can induce labor, then how can a massage therapist possibly do so? Moreover, if pressure on the feet and ankles does lead to pregnancy issues, what about the fact that pregnant women walk about and wear shoes?
- For treating pregnant women, additional professional indemnity insurance must be paid:
If an insurer is trying to get a massage therapist to pay more for giving massage sessions to pregnant women, they should be either given a stern talking to or be dumped altogether. There is minimal risk involved in a massage which is why the resultant insurance premiums in the industry are very low.
- The woman should not be lying prone during treatment:
Expecting mothers are often advised against lying supine as it could lead to complications for both mother and baby. However, nothing exists by way of evidence to suggest that pregnant women cannot be massaged in the prone position with cushions, pillows, and bolsters for support. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is that she should be comfortable during the treatment.
As you may have realized by now, massage treatment is more than just safe for pregnant ladies – it is also of immense benefit. If your massage therapist is someone who has undergone some additional training in this field, he/she is likely to give you much better care and also have more knowledge about dealing with possible complications. All in all, expectant mothers can rest easy in the knowledge that massage is not something they need to forego while pregnant.