Myth: Massage can cause a miscarriage.
To cause any damage to the baby or its placenta, work to the abdomen and uterus would have to be extremely rough and deep. (1) A professional would never do this kind of massage on a pregnant woman.
More often than not the abdomen of a pregnant woman isn’t worked on, unless she has specifically asked or this has been discussed before the massage begins. The type of massage performed by a qualified pregnancy massage therapist is extremely gentle and is mainly aimed at the fascia located just below the skin of the abdomen.
Miscarriage is very common within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (90% occur in the first 8 weeks). Almost half of these are due to chromosomal abnormalities that do not make the embryo viable. This is clearly unrelated to massage.
Other potential causes of miscarriage also have no connection to pregnancy massage. For example: embryonic abnormalities, retroversion of uterus, fibroids, maternal infections and conditions (e.g. renal disease) are totally unrelated to pregnancy massage.
“A mother who is healthy and embraces a healthy lifestyle – including massage is more likely to have a successful pregnancy.” Elaine Stillerman LMT
Myth: Massage is contraindicated during the first trimester.
There is seems to be a couple reasons as to why some practitioners will not perform massage in the first trimester.
The first is that most miscarriages occur within the first trimester, so if a practitioner doesn’t massage, no blame is assigned to the practitioner if pregnancy complications occur. There is no scientific evidence to support the belief that massages cause’s miscarriage.
The second belief is that most women suffer from nausea and vomiting during the first trimester and waiting until the nausea has stopped around the 2nd trimester is best. It is true that you cannot massage a woman who is nauseas or vomiting. However, Prenatal Massage Therapists do not massage while the woman is experiencing the symptoms. Waiting till another time of the day when the woman is not experiencing the symptoms will often alleviate many of the symptoms the woman will experience later.
Fact: Good prenatal care from a qualified health professional is an important component for a healthy pregnancy.
One of the most important components of a healthy pregnancy outcome is good prenatal care (from an obstetrician, midwife, or GP). Many examinations and observations are available to help assess risk factors, prevent complications from developing and assist with diagnosis and treatment. Specialised Pregnancy Massage therapists are well aware of the high risk factors that may be present.
Massage therapy when used appropriately can support a woman through her pregnancy
Contraindications and Cautions
It’s important to know when you cannot have a massage, so that you and your baby are safe. A qualified pregnancy or prenatal massage practitioner will know when not to massage, and I have listed the majority of conditions that preclude massage therapy.
In general you cannot have a massage if you have a fever or any type of infection, nausea, diarrhoea or any acute vascular inflammatory conditions. Other contraindication to massage would be If you have a blood clot, the start of pneumonia, complicated diabetes, very high blood pressure (hypertension), bleeding, if you are in shock, if you have cancer or if you have an aneurysms (abnormal ballooning of an artery) .
As well as the above, when you are pregnant you cannot have a massage if you are bleeding or staining, if you are in premature labour (20 to 37 weeks), if you have pitting oedema, any hypertensive conditions, placenta previa (when the placenta is covering part or all of the opening to the cervix), when you have not felt your baby moving for 10 hours, if you have severe abdominal pain, or have a throbbing or migraine headache.