Most of us would say we need a massage any day of the week — because most of us spend the week hunched over a computer — factor in the extra aches and pains that come with pregnancy and that need becomes very real. Your partner rubbing your back/shoulders/neck/feet every night is great (and basically part of the “I’m having a baby” contract), but nothing beats a visit to the pros. To find out what’s safe, what’s best practice and what’s an old wives tale meant to freak out already freaked out mothers-to-be, we sought the advice of Tegan Natoli of Bump Day Spa.
Bump Day Spa is a place of perfected pampering for pregnant and breastfeeding women. All the staff are fully trained in pregnancy treatments and the products are completely pregnancy and breastfeeding safe. “Pregnancies are often so clinical and all about the baby, so we wanted somewhere where our clients can forget the rest of the world and completely relax from the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave,” says Tegan. Here’s what you need to know before you book your own moment of R ‘n R.
You can, and should, ask questions
“When receiving any antenatal treatment it’s important to ensure that your practitioner is fully experienced and qualified, and that all the products are safe,” says Tegan. If you arrive for your massage and the practitioner hasn’t assured you of these things, Tegan encourages you to speak up. “You’re allowed to ask questions so don’t be shy!” This continues to be true during your treatment. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, hot, cold, dizzy, sore or sick, say something. Often your practitioner can easily change something that means you can stop feeling uneasy and start relaxing.
You will lie on side
Expecting a table with a hole in the middle? While some places may still offer this, Pregnancy Massage Australia recommends pregnant women lie on their sides as it’s safest for mum and baby. “At Bump, we imported custom-made massage tables which are extra wide, extra cushiony and electronic so we can adjust client’s positions easily to make sure they’re comfortable. For massage treatments, we place our pregnant clients in the side-lying position and offer a big, soft body pillow for mum (and bump) to really cosy into. Most women doze off pretty quickly!” Sleeping while you get a massage? Totally acceptable.
Past your due date? No problem
Is it safe to have a massage after 40 weeks? Even 41? “Absolutely!” says Tegan. “Some places might refuse to do massage in the first trimester because there’s a higher risk of miscarriage in those first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but a trained pregnancy massage practitioner can massage throughout an entire pregnancy. Ofcourse, if there are any medical conditions associated with your pregnancy, it's always a good idea to get the all clear from your doctor or obstetrician.”
No skipping your feet
Been told you can’t have your feet massaged because it brings on premature labour? Lie! “You can absolutely have your feet massaged during pregnancy!” says Tegan. “Gosh, that was the only thing that gave my swollen pregnant kankles relief! There are certain acupressure points to avoid at certain times in the pregnancy but an experienced and qualified practitioner will know what they’re doing, so you can totally enjoy getting your tootsies rubbed.”
It is so so good for you
It feels so good in the moment, but it’s so much more. Pregnancy Massage Australia lists mother-baby connection, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, stabilised hormonal changes and blood pressure, eased joint pain, improved proprioception and reduced oedema as proven benefits of prenatal massage. And that’s not all, recent studies also showed that women who’d received massage therapy during pregnancy experienced less pain during labour, and on average their labours were three hours shorter with less need for medication. So have the massages. Have all the massages.
And when it comes to Tegan's own pregnancy, here are her top three products from the memo that she recommends to any expectant parents.