• Monica Toro

Dispelling the Myths of Prenatal Massage

Let me just start out by saying that our society generally believes that pregnancy is a pathology and something to be very cautious about. We treat pregnant women like they are fragile. A lot of what that looks like in prenatal massages is a massage therapist who is scared to touch you and don't know what to do.

I can assure you that when you come for your massage, I won't treat you this way. I have been trained to know the do's and don'ts for mothers. The last thing you want to hear is a massage therapist saying "Oh, I won't touch your feet, you might go in labor." That is a straight up myth. And of course you want your feet massaged! They're probably screaming for some love.

Here are some common falsehoods that I can help put your mind at ease:

1. "A foot massage will put me into labor."

Bologne. Just imagine... if this were true, there would be clinics just for foot massages for pregnant women to help induce labor this way instead of resorting to the measures they use now (Pitocin, prostaglandin, stripping the membranes, oxytocin, etc.)

This myth comes from 2 specific acupressure points and reflexology points that are connected to the uterus. Acupressure and reflexology are techniques that I will not use during a foot massage. In order to stimulate these points, I would need to do deep continuous pressure over a few days on the specific points, which I won't do.

Don't worry. You'll love the foot massage and it won't start up anything unnatural.

2. "A massage in the first trimester will cause a miscarriage."

Again, false. This comes from a (rightly-so) fear of miscarriage and when one happens, there tends to be a search for a reason for it. If it happens close to a massage, gossip could cause the massage to be the scapegoat. In all of history only a couple of cases against massage therapists were taken to court due to a miscarriage and nothing was conclusive. Massage is more beneficial than harmful.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a lot of the miscarriages are from a natural occurrence in an abnormal number of chromosomes during the fertilization phase. They say that even working, sex, exercise, birth control, and morning sickness does not cause miscarriage. In most cases, a fall or hard blow does not cause a miscarriage.

What is not ok, is a massage therapist who is poorly trained and lacking common sense takes on a pregnant client and does things that could definitely hurt the baby and the mother. For example, lay the mother flat on her back or flat on her belly in the second and third trimester.

3. "Don't do deep tissue work. Prenatal massage is light pressure only."

I think this comes from 3 things. One, this idea that pregnant women are fragile. They are anything BUT fragile. And you need work done on your shoulders, neck and hips more than ever before.

Two, that a massage therapist is not specialized in prenatal massage. The general amount of study in a regular licensing program for maternity massage is about two hours. That's just not enough. And so when one is not competent, they become hesitant. That is why I have taken it upon myself to study in depth so that the mothers can receive the massage that they deserve during this arduous time in their lives.

Three, because pregnant women shouldn't receive deep work in the legs since the chance of blood clots in the legs are higher. I will do light pressure in your legs, but I can go deep in your weight bearing areas.

4. "Only do side-lying massage after the first trimester."

Again, this comes from poorly trained prenatal massage therapists. Since I specialize in prenatal and postpartum massage, I will have the proper tools so that you can be supported safely and be laying on your back and belly if that is what is most comfortable for you. If not, I can do side-lying as well!

I hope this answers some questions or hesitancies. And if you book with me, just don't worry. You have enough to worry about.

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