The good news is that most pregnant women can safely enjoy a maternity massage at any stage of their pregnancies, but there are a few precautions to keep in mind. Body positions that put pressure on your abdomen or too much weight on your back are a no-no, as are massage techniques that stimulate pelvic muscles through acupressure points or direct manipulation.
Your doctor might want you to skip the massage outright if you have a high-risk pregnancy or a history of pre-term labor or blood clots. And while some women swear by maternity massage to keep their morning sickness under control, your doctor might advise you to pass if you're having lots of nausea and vomiting.
A massage therapist may want your doctor's permission before giving you a massage, and some may even balk at performing pregnancy massage in the first trimester. There's no real evidence that it's dangerous, but since the overall risk of miscarriage is higher in the first 12 weeks (whether you have a massage or not), therapists may be concerned about their own liability.
As with any massage, a maternity massage is as much an art as it is a science, so results may vary greatly from patient to patient -- and from practitioner to practitioner. To make the most of your massage, get the all-clear from your doctor and take the time to find a therapist that makes you feel safe and comfortable. Then close your eyes, relax and let your maternity massage melt your troubles away!
To find a massage practitioner or learn more about pregnancy massage, check out the links on the next page.