Prenatal Massage in the First Trimester...Is it Safe?
Many myths pervade our culture regarding pregnancy and childbirth. Warnings against massage during the first trimester is one such case. Getting a massage during your first trimester is absolutely safe! The key is to find a massage therapist certified in pregnancy/prenatal bodywork. She/he will provide massage and bodywork during all trimesters following appropriate protocol for each. In the first trimester the major contraindication is performing massage work directly over the lower pelvic area near the uterus. Also, deep work on the legs should be avoided. Other than that, the therapist will modify the treatment depending on the woman's needs, ie, if there is nausea, no sudden movements or rocking, if there is breast tenderness, bolster accordingly and stay peripheral to the breast tissue, etc. Otherwise, a relaxing full body massage can give the woman much needed rest, reduce muscle tension, and prepare the her for the impending musculoskeletal changes of pregnancy. There is significant research to suggest positive outcomes of massage during pregnancy.
The notion that it is unsafe to get a massage during the first trimester exists because many spas refuse to work on a woman during this time, as it is the most likely time a miscarriage may occur. They are simply covering themselves from a legal perspective. There is no medical reason why massage should be avoided during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and massage does not cause miscarriages. If you have any doubts about your personal case, or have been labeled as "high risk" for any reason, definitely consult with your doctor before booking your appointment with a certified prenatal massage therapist.