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Are there any times when massage should be avoided during pregnancy? 

Yes. Pregnancy causes significant systemic changes in the body and for some women the physical changes can lead to prenatal complications.  While massage is not necessarily contraindicated (inappropriate) for all complications, there are situations in which massage may not be advisable.  When you get in touch with Mama Massage by Michelle, we will set a time for a brief phone consultation, during which, we can discuss any reasons why massage may or may not be appropriate for you.  At that time, you will be asked to provide contact information for your Primary Pregnancy Medical health provider and permission to contact him/her to request clearance for your safe receipt of prenatal or postpartum massage.


Why do I have to provide clearance from my Doctor/Midwife for massage?

Your health and safety are important and I take my work seriously.  There is a difference between the specialty service offered by Mama Massage by Michelle and service that may be provided elsewhere.  Requiring clearance in writing from your medical health care provider confirms that you are in a state of health for receiving massage therapy and ensures communication with your caregiver about your intent to do so.   Additionally, your medical caregiver is provided the opportunity to verify any special recommendations to best support your massage experience.  An abundance of caution is appropriate when it comes to pregnancy; this practice serves to protect you and your baby.


Why is Mama Massage by Michelle offered only after the FIRST TRIMESTER?

Historically it was not recommended to provide massage within the 1st trimester due to the increased risks naturally associated with pregnancy during the first trimester.  Recent findings and practice indicates that massage is safe during all three trimesters; therefore the choice to offer massage during the first trimester rests in the hands of each Therapist.  I recognize that massage can be beneficial during the 1st trimester, however, it is my personal choice to offer service to clients who are passed the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.


How far along into pregnancy can I receive massage? 

If your pregnancy is progressing normally and you and baby are healthy, you can continue to enjoy regular prenatal massage up until you give birth.


How frequently should I receive Mama Massage?

During the late second and third trimesters, massages once every two weeks may be needed/helpful.  You may need/desire weekly massage during the last several weeks of pregnancy to help you keep as comfortable as possible. *Please inquire about frequent session special pricing during the last stretch of pregnancy.


What techniques are used in Mama Massage?

Acupressure, cranial sacral, manual lymph drainage, light stretching and Swedish techniques are all commonly used in pregnancy/postpartum massage.


Do you use lotions, oil, or aromatherapy?

While a variety of lotions, oils and essential oils can be beneficial, I only utilize pure jojoba as a massage medium.  Jojoba is a superior massage lubricant that's non-allergenic, non-comedogenic and provides nourishment to the skin. Learn more about Jojoba.  If  jojoba is for some reason undesired, I am open to using a preferred, alternate lubricant, provided by the client.  In the case that client is providing the massage medium, please have the replacement medium on-hand for use (comprehensive massage cannot be performed without it) and know that I take no responsibility for the quality of a replacement medium when applied via massage (i.e.  some lubricants turn out to be sticky, too quickly absorbed or don't allow for glide). 


Why is Mama Massage available only as a light-to-medium in pressure massage?

Pregnancy disrupts normal blood circulation, increasing blood volume and clotting factors.  Gentle to moderate pressure is indicated for pregnancy massage. No deep tissue pressure is provided.

Will you work deeply on my legs?

Deep leg work is contraindicated (not appropriate) during pregnancy. Additional clotting factors in the blood, which are helpful in preventing hemorrhaging during and after labor, also increase the risk of blood clots, most commonly in the legs.  Gentle Swedish massage and Lymphatic Drainage  (a light but powerful technique) on the feet and lower legs is perfectly safe and tremendously beneficial during pregnancy. 


I heard that you shouldn't have your feet massaged when you're pregnant. Is that true?

Not true; your feet need relief now more than ever. There are, however, acupressure points around the ankles and feet that when aggressively worked can instigate uterine contractions and those points are carefully avoided. 


Will you do abdominal massage?

Gentle massage of the abdomen is safe and beneficial to mother and baby.  However, unless mama specifically asks for abdominal massage while pregnant, it is not included.  When requested, light feathery strokes are provided to the belly and sidebody.  Typically, moms-to-be prefer to invest massage time into areas that they can't reach and/or would better benefit from professional massage techniques. 


Massage for the 4th trimester (13 weeks following birth) may include gentle massage to the abdomen, if desired, to assist the uterus and other internal organs and abdominal muscles to return to pre-pregnancy positioning & state.


Will I be covered during the session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being massaged will be undraped and then redraped. Please refer to the Policies page for information about undressing for Mama Massage.


Will you be present when I disrobe?
You will be advised to wear a robe or button down shirt that opens easily so that I can assist you in safely getting onto the table and cover you with a clean sheet.  I will assist you in removing your robe/shirt once on the table and also assist you in getting off the table once the massage is complete.


Should I talk during the massage or stay quiet?

I provide relaxing music for the background and it's completely your choice if you'd like to talk or remain quiet. Most sessions are a combination of some talk and some quiet time.  I invite clients to speak right up should anything need to be adjusted during the session so barring that, feel free to drift into a state of peace and quiet during your Mama Massage.


Is there any stretching involved?

Range of motion and gentle stretching movements may be used, if comfortable for mama. Caution is observed as not to overstretch an area being that the hormone relaxin makes muscles and ligaments much more mobile.



Some common situations . . .


"I'm embarrassed about my pregnant/post-pregnancy body"   

No need to be embarrassed! You are in sacred space, there is no judgment. One of the aims of Mama Massage is to help you feel well so you can *enjoy* the beauty that is your changing body during such a special and temporary time.


"I feel fat and swollen"

It's normal to gain weight to support a growing baby - it's what's supposed to happen - and it's normal to have a certain amount of swelling during pregnancy because you're retaining water and your blood supply has increased substantially.


Swelling can however signal a dangerous pregnancy complication such as preeclampsia so it's important you keep aware of how much your body is swelling.  If, for example, you are suddenly swollen all over, including your face and hands, that's a time to get in touch with your medical care provider.


"My legs/armpits aren't shaved"

It does not matter. My focus is on keeping you safe and comfortable while massaging your muscles.


"Now that I'm comfortable {on the massage table}, I have to use the bathroom"  

It's okay, this happens!  You simply take care of business and then we get you comfortable again, not a problem.

"My breasts are super sore and they're leaky"

Leaky breasts are a sign that your body is working as it should.  During the massage, you are provided with an extra towel to cover your breasts, which can also soak up any leakage.  (If the leakage is bloody or foul-smelling, contact your medical care provider).  If it is uncomfortable to lay face down due to sore breasts, I will position you on your sides and semi-reclined.


"I got some blood on your nice sheets, I'm so sorry!!"

Postpartum bleeding is normal and leakage can happen, it's okay. Receiving massage in the presence of post-birth bleeding is not a problem so long as the amount of bleeding isn't dramatically increased by receiving massage and your medical care giver has provided clearance for post-natal massage.  An extra towel underneath you can help prevent leakage onto massage sheets so just ask for one or provide one of your own.  Should this happen, do not worry, though please do consider providing a tip to offset the cost of replacement sheets.  Additionally, if you need to interrupt a massage in session for a bathroom break it's perfectly ok!


*IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you are experiencing bleeding while pregnant then that is not a time to be on the massage table and it's important to communicate with your medical care provider.   Receiving massage while pregnant and bleeding is contraindicated (not appropriate).


"I just passed gas, sorry" 

Not a big deal.  We all do it. When you have higher levels of progesterone during pregnancy (hormone that relaxes smooth muscle tissue throughout the body including your GI tract) your digestive process is slowed down, which leads to burping, gas, bloating and constipation.


"I am really itchy lately"

It's not uncommon to feel itchy when pregnant, particularly as skin stretches to accommodate baby. Any situations that would normally make you itchy (dry skin, eczema, food allergies, etc.) can affect you even more during pregnancy.  Unless what you have is contagious, I am not put off by scratching. Plus, the quality massage lubricant I use can help soothe your skin!

Did you know?


The uterus will expand 1000 times normal size to carry your baby! 


Don't worry though, it will return to a non-pregnant state once baby has arrived.

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