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Most experts recommend you avoid prenatal massage during your first trimester when your body is still getting used to the pregnancy, and some believe there may be a connection between first trimester prenatal massage and miscarriage. However, prenatal massage is perfectly safe during your second and third trimesters, and you’ll appreciate the benefits more the further along you are. You should always check with your doctor before beginning any new treatment or procedure when you are pregnant, and many massage therapists even require you to obtain a written note from your doctor or midwife before receiving a prenatal massage.
A certified prenatal massage therapist will have a special table and pillows designed for your comfort and the baby’s safety. Since you shouldn’t lie on your back for an extended period of time after the 20th week, most therapists will have you lie on your side, or in a semi-reclining position. Experts disagree on the safety of tables designed with a hole cut out to accommodate your belly, which allows you to lie on your stomach; many believe this causes unnecessary stress to your lower back. The rest of the massage room will be familiar to anyone who’s received a massage before, decorated with soft lighting, soothing music, and a warm, extra-padded table for you to lie on. Some therapists use scented candles or lotions. If these bother your sensitive nose, ask that they be changed to unscented or removed.
A prenatal massage may last anywhere from ten to 60 minutes, depending on your schedule and discomfort. Your level of dress at the massage is completely up to you and your comfort level. Some women prefer to wear nothing, while others choose to wear just their underwear, or bra and underwear. You will be covered with a blanket and only those parts that are being worked on will be uncovered. During the massage, direct and sustained pressure should not be applied to the area between your ankle bone and heel. Many therapists and reflexologists consider this area to be connected with the uterus and vagina and it is thought that heavy pressure on this area may induce early labor.
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