A safe and most importantly, medication-free method of massage for a mum-to-be to get pain- and stress-relief while pregnant. Expectant mothers have a lot of extra weight to carry and can suffer from lower back pain, swollen feet and calves, and other ailments.
But the benefits are not purely physical: Simply being touched can also be a soothing antidote to anxiety and depression and an effective way for an expectant mum to experience emotional support too. Since relaxation is key to an enjoyable pregnancy and comfortable labour, it’s not hard to see why spas now offer mums-to-be an array of specialist pregnancy packages.
It’s important to check that your spa has pregnancy spa therapists who are specially trained on how to position, support and touch a pregnant woman’s body during the treatment that is safe and effective for both mum and baby. We are confident that all of our spas that we have registered for pregnancy packages do have adequate expertise.
There are two types of targeted pregnancy massage: Pre-natal and Post-natal – supporting mum pre-birth and after the birth. However, it is worth mentioning that many physicians do not recommend women having a massage in their first term of pregnancy. Some pregnancy treatments include foot soaks and massaging the arms, legs and scalp. For more on pregnancy spa treatments, see our Pregnancy Spa Guide.
This massage style is similar to Swedish massage, but obviously expectant mothers cannot lie on their fronts unless using specially adapted massage beds or pregnancy supports. Instead they are usually carefully positioned to sit slightly upright or sideways (never completely flat and face-up – this is particularly important after week 30 of pregnancy) with pillows and padding for extra support. Deep-tissue techniques and aromatherapy oil massage tend to be out of bounds for mums-to-be.
A pregnant woman seeking physical respite from backache, and peace of mind that she is in specialist hands.
…if you were hoping for a knot-busting massage. Even if you have chronic backache, as Pregnancy massage is understandably more gentle than conventional massage techniques.
Some dedicated spas have special massage beds with a gap midway along them to accommodate a mother-to-be’s tummy. Others, like those by Elemis, massage a mum-to-be on a huge comfy beanbag on the floor.
Quite a few of the more stimulating aromatherapy essential oils (basil, cedarwood, cinnamon bark, citronella, clary sage, jasmine, juniper, lemongrass, myrrh, peppermint, rockrose, rosemary, sage, thyme and vetiver) are contra-indicated during pregnancy. Some of these are considered potent enough to influence foetal cell development and even to induce contractions.
Gentler soothing essential oils (diluted in a base or carrier oil) such as lavender, bergamot, frankincense, grapefruit, lemon, neroli, sandalwood and ylang ylang are considered safe to use in the second trimester of a healthy pregnancy onwards.
Peppermint oil , sometimes recommended in the first and second trimester to help curtail the nausea of morning sickness, is also thought to decrease milk production, so is best avoided as you approach your final trimester prior to breast feeding.
If you want to use your favourite fragrance-free organic oil (coconut is good) during your massage, don’t be afraid to bring along a small bottle for your spa therapist to use – she should be happy to oblige.
For other pregnancy spa treatments, see our Pregnancy Spa Guide