Massage in the First Trimester

A question I have been asked a number of times over the years is why can’t women receive massage during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. We are taught that the wrath of God will be felt by any therapist if they go within 100 metres of a pregnant woman. The truth is a little different.

The reason for this is so the therapist can avoid litigation if something goes wrong with the pregnancy in that time; the first trimester has an increased chance of miscarriage.

This important thing to remember is that general non specific massage does not cause miscarriage. There are points in the legs or feet that are contraindicated when massaging pregnant women so they are avoided. Of course, the massage treatment will not involve any work to the abdominal region during pregnancy.

A more serious concern with treating pregnant women is blood clotting. Pregnancy is, in general, a hypercoagulable state so a woman may clot more readily and are predisposed to deep-vein thrombosis and other clot-related conditions. The chance of blood clotting during pregnancy is rare and can become serious if the blood clot is dislodged.

The therapist and the mother-to-be need to be aware of the symptoms of blood clots. Clot formation increases during the third term of pregnancy and early post-partum.
If any of the following are found, you should see you doctor immediately:
• Swelling
• Redness
• Pain in one part of the body, especially the legs
• Pain which increases during walking
• Veins that are more visible and look larger than normal

As a therapist giving massage to a woman who is pregnant it is important to:
• Ensure that the treatment does not cause tissue damage
• Avoid any methods that are aggressive or invasive
• Refrain from using deep stripping techniques

Receiving massage during pregnancy is safe and beneficial as long as the therapist knows that you are pregnant and can adjust the treatment accordingly so that the correct techniques are used.