Treat Yourself! Relieve Discomfort & Relax with Prenatal Massage
Nurtured 9’s guest expert helps us prepare for our first massage therapy session
Whether you’re in the early months of pregnancy (and morning sickness is finally in the rearview mirror), approaching the home stretch (with an abundance of aches and pains cropping up), or cruising comfortably somewhere right in the middle, we think booking a prenatal massage session is an excellent way to treat yourself and enjoy some well-deserved pampering. In addition to targeting and helping to alleviate the physical discomforts of pregnancy - like an aching lower back, neck and shoulders - massage is equally about the relaxation and mental clarity gained from devoting an entire hour (or more!) just to you.
Before we made our way to the spa for our first prenatal massage appointment, we had a few questions about the service that we wanted to get out of the way so that we could completely zen-out on the massage table. Our guest expert from Allyu Spa in Chicago, IL is here to tell us what to expect!
Meet our Guest Expert:
Tamara Wills, Owner of Allyu Spa in Chicago, IL
Nurtured 9: When is the best time during pregnancy to schedule a prenatal massage? Should you avoid getting a massage too early (ex: first trimester) or too late (ex: close to due date)?
Tamara Wills: Anytime that you want a massage is a perfect time to receive a massage during pregnancy! The question of whether massage could be dangerous during the first trimester has finally been officially debunked. There was never any logic or evidence that bodywork should be avoided early in pregnancy. It was simply a fear, mostly of potential lawsuits I'm embarrassed to say. Since most miscarriages occur during this time in pregnancy, practitioners and business owners were afraid they could somehow be blamed if the event occurred in close proximity to massage. Prior to owning Allyu Spa, I owned a smaller bodywork establishment in Wicker Park [a neighborhood in Chicago] and was a massage therapist there. I've been vocal about this topic for decades and am thrilled the perspective has changed. It’s also fine to receive massage up to, and beyond, your due date.
Nurtured 9: What do moms-to-be enjoy most about a prenatal massage? What are the physical and mental benefits?
Tamara Wills: A woman's body is going through numerous changes during pregnancy. The loosening of connective tissue, changes in posture, and shifts in center of gravity can all contribute to discomfort that massage can address. Low back and hip pain are common, as well as tightness and/or spasm on side of the rib cage or upper back. Beyond the physical relief that massage can provide, this is also a time for a mother-to-be to relax and be nurtured. Her life is about to change dramatically and she giving enormously from herself. This is a chance to receive. There is also acknowledgment of the sacredness of the process of bringing life that is felt during bodywork.
Nurtured 9: How frequently can a mom-to-be get a prenatal massage? Is there any reason to wait a certain amount of time between visits?
Tamara Wills: There is no general ideal schedule for massages during pregnancy. It would depend on the issues that the mother is experiencing and the practitioner can provide recommendation based on her needs. If there is specific pain, such as sciatic discomfort, several massages over a shorter period of time may be recommended. Otherwise, the timeline is completely based on the desires of the mom-to-be. There's never too much massage!
Nurtured 9: What can moms-to-be expect during a prenatal massage?
Tamara Wills: Massage Therapy occurs on a massage table, between a set of sheets and with an additional blanket if desired. The practitioner will guide the service and ask the appropriate questions to assure that he/she is clear on the needs and desires of the client. The practitioner steps out of the room to allow the client to disrobe to their comfort and get comfortable between the sheets. Typically, a client will remove all clothing or keep on only underwear. She will be modestly draped throughout the entire service. Expecting mothers receive massage in a sidelying position in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, in lieu of being on their stomach and then back. This is done for comfort, postural positioning, and to avoid the baby putting undue pressure on the mother's vena cava. In the past, some massage therapists would use a table with a belly cut out so that a mother could lay on her stomach. It was realized that undue pressure was put on the low back in this position. We use a specific bolstering system that supports the hips into a neutral position and keeps the spine straight. Its very comfortable!
Nurtured 9: Sounds amazing. Thank you!
Notes from Lindsey: Make sure you get to the spa a little early so you can sit quietly and enjoy some hot tea and/or cucumber water before your appointment, if it’s offered. Sipping hibiscus tea, smelling the candles, and listening to ambient music in the “meditation tent” waiting area at Allyu Spa in Chicago, IL is one of my favorite parts of the entire experience!