All you need to know about prenatal massage including what to expect and where to go.
Pregnancy is a time of excitement and joy; but it can also be a source of aches, pains and pre-baby anxiety. Just because you are expecting, don’t rule out a little spa relaxation. In fact, we recommend it! These days, most spas offer prenatal massage, which is specifically designed for the safety of expecting mom and child.
To get the scoop on what to expect from a prenatal massage service, we spoke with Marcia Sayles, lead massage therapist at The Spa at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. She also explained the many potential benefits of maternity massage along with a few things to avoid.
Got a baby bump and an aching back? Read on!
What is Prenatal Massage?
Prenatal massage (also referred to as maternity massage and pregnancy massage) is essentially a Swedish massage tailored to the needs of a pregnant woman. The big difference between the two is positioning. Sayles explained that rather having you lie on your stomach, or flat on your back, the massage is given with you lying on your side or semi reclined. Pregnancy cushions, pillows or adjustable tables are often used to aid in comfort. Some spas are equipped with special pregnancy cushions and tables that have cut outs for the breasts and abdomen and include additional hip, shoulder and neck support to allow you to lie face down during your massage. But not every spa will carry this equipment, so be sure to ask before you book your massage.
Benefits of Prenatal Massage
According to Sayles, the best way to get relief from the typical aches associated with pregnancy is to book regular massages mainly to increase circulation and overall well-being. The other many benefits of prenatal massage include:
- Ease back and leg pain
- Reduce swelling
- Ease cramps
- Decrease sciatic pain
- Lower anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Decrease levels of norepinephrine and cortisol (stress hormones)
- Boosts immune system
- Increases levels of serotonin and dopamine
What to Know about Prenatal Massage
Sayles’ number one rule of advice: When booking your service, request a massage therapist who is certified in prenatal massage and ask what type of equipment and positioning the facility uses. She also advised to ask about the massage oil used in the treatment. Some oils and creams are not recommended, while others can be beneficial. Inquire about the type of emollient your therapist intends to use during your treatment.
Beneficial essential oils for prenatal massage include:
- Wheat germ oil
- Sea buckthorn berry
Essential oils to AVOID include:
Her final words of advice: Consult your physician before booking a prenatal massage. Some conditions associated with pregnancy require avoiding massage altogether. Many massage therapists will request written consent from a doctor before performing any treatments. Some facilities may even refuse massage to women in their first trimester because of the higher rates of miscarriage associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Bottom line, check with your doc first. (Read more about essential oils here.)
Treatments to Avoid
Yes, there are limitations to being pregnant when it comes to spa treatments. Services to avoid include:
- Lymphatic drainage
- Trigger point
- Deep tissue massage
What to Book and Where to Go
Treat yourself or an expecting loved one to one of these perfectly pampering prenatal spa treatments.
- Prenatal Massage at Massage Envy Spas and Clinics, Valley-wide. Using sideline positioning with soft, supportive cushions, the Massage Envy prenatal massage session is designed to put the mom-to-be at ease and alleviate specific symptoms (90 minutes for $57, 2 hours for $78 at introductory price).
- Prenatal / Pregnancy Massage at Amomi Pregnancy Wellness Spa, Scottsdale. Designed to promote health and wellness for mother and child in an atmosphere dedicated to mothers-to-be (60 minutes for $90, 90 minutes for $135).
- Special Delivery at The Spa at Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale. Created specifically for expectant mothers, this prenatal massage treatment features a wheat germ enriched, baby-safe oil to aid in preventing stretch marks while soothing the senses (60 minutes for $140, 90 minutes for $170).
- Expectant Mother Massage at Joya Spa at Omni Resort at Montelucia, Paradise Valley.
A completely relaxing full-body massage using pre-natal techniques and omega-rich oils to help relax, increase circulation, alleviate tired muscles and reduce excess water retention, focusing on the specific muscles associated with pregnancy (50 minutes $159-$189, 80 minutes $229-$259).
- Mother-to-Be Massage at Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort Scottsdale. This nurturing massage features Mama Mio products specifically designed for the mother-to-be. Individual attention is given by our specially trained and certified therapists to the mother’s comfort and stage of pregnancy (50 minutes starting at $149, 80 minutes starting at $219).
- Prenatal Massage at Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This special delivery treatment features a massage table uniquely designed for the body of an expecting mother, allowing her to lie face down with full support. Given only by specially trained therapists, this pampering experience is designed with the safety and comfort of mother and child in mind (60 minutes for $169).
- Je’ved Ge’e (Mother Earth Package) at Aji Spa at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Chandler. The ultimate treat for the mom-to-be, this package features “Mother to Be” prenatal massage, a nourishing facial custom to your skin’s unique needs and a decadent sole soothing citrus pedicure. Mom leaves with a full glow and an infant massage book to share with the little one (3 hours, starting at $340).
Finally, as long as you consult your doctor and find a massage therapist who has been specifically trained in prenatal massage treatments, you have no reason to go those nine months without a little TLC. So kick back, relax and enjoy some spa while you wait for the arrival of your little bundle of joy!
Read our review of Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Solution.
Read more about prenatal massage on WebMD.