WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GETTING A PRENATAL MASSAGE AT FREE SPIRIT MASSAGE & DOULA SERVICES VS ANY OTHER SPA OR PLACE IN MIDDLE GEORGIA THAT OFFERS PREGNANCY MASSAGE?
A LOT. Let's put it this way: A Dentist is a Doctor too... but not the kind of doctor you should choose to deliver your baby. A few highlights: I don't require you to lie on your side for the massage because I have advanced cushioning systems to ensure your safety and comfort at all stages of pregnancy, I will work with as deep of pressure as you want (I don't treat you like you are fragile), I’m not hesitant/afraid to work on you, I am a SPECIALIST in prenatal massage and have worked on countless numbers of pregnant people (most spa therapists have only worked on a handful), I am highly knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth and I don't perpetuate myths and misconceptions such as "I can induce your labor with foot massage" (which is hopeful... but false.)
I SEE AT SOME LOCAL PLACES THAT PRENATAL MASSAGES ARE NOT ALLOWED DURING THE FIRST TRIMESTER. WHY IS THAT?
Since there is a higher chance for miscarriage during the first trimester, many spas and therapists choose to avoid that time and protect themselves. This is a great rule for anyone who is not trained and specialize in prenatal massage. I am specially trained and certified in prenatal massage therapy, and understand how your body is changing during the early weeks of pregnancy. I am confident in the work I do with the training I have had and understand that there is not an eject button that will cause a miscarriage during or after a prenatal massage. Furthermore, I do not treat my clients as fragile patients, but rather strong individuals who understand what their bodies need. I trust that my clients are in communication with their medical team and understand what is best for their individual care.
DO I GET TO LIE FACE-DOWN DURING A PRENATAL MASSAGE?
Absolutely... every pregnant person’s dream come true! I am masterful in the use of special orthopedic body support cushions that are fully adjustable to accommodate your growing belly and breasts during all stages of pregnancy. Most pregnant people find them so comfortable that they beg me to let them take the cushions home! If you are carrying twins, or are obese at the start of your pregnancy, it may be more prudent and comfortable to lie you on your side after a certain point. Also, people that are petite (5'2" and under) may not fit well face-down on the cushions. But I will let you try them and decide for yourself!
WHEN DO I NEED TO START SIDE-LYING? AND HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THE MASSAGE?
If you don’t want to lay on your side for the whole massage, DON’T! I use the Original bodyCushion which is a revolutionary positioning tool that suspends the torso on its bony structures and supports the abdomen instead of letting it dangle in a hole. The bodyCushion is adjustable to each individual for a customized fit to ensure comfort and safety for you and your baby as your body grows. However, if you prefer side-lying, side-lying will occur when you do not feel like you can lay comfortably on your stomach. This will vary client to client, but I recommend generally in the second trimester you shift to the side-lying position to help reduce the pressure on the vena cava, which can impact the blood flow to mother and baby. Below is a photo of pillow side-lying vs side-lying with the bodyCushion I use.
I HAVE SEEN SOME MASSAGE THERAPISTS OFFER MASSAGE TABLES WITH A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE SO THAT I CAN STILL LAY ON MY STOMACH. WHY DO YOU NOT OFFER THAT?
oh, noooooo. (Do they still sell those???) While they are a novel idea, tables with removable "plugs" for breasts and belly do not adjust or support the body adequately. One size does NOT fit all when it comes to gestational bodies. Although there are many tables and body pillows with cut out holes, I do not believe that these “one-size fits all” support and protect you and your growing body. I have noticed that while those tables can be comfortable for some pregnant individuals, some do not fit properly. Not fitting properly can cause more harm than good. The bodyCushion system I use is completely customized to your body shape to ensure you are completely comfortable and supported safely.
CAN I LIE FLAT ON MY BACK DURING A PRENATAL MASSAGE?
Only during the first trimester. After that, I prop you up like Royalty, reclining on your throne, with your head/neck/back supported, your knees and feet slightly elevated too. Magically, you'll also discover that this a great position to sleep in for the rest of your pregnancy.
I LOVE DEEP TISSUE MASSAGES NORMALLY! CAN I HAVE A DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE WHILE PREGNANT?
Of course! Being pregnant doesn’t make you fragile. Deep tissue massages can feel so wonderful for the tight hips and lower back that are common with pregnancy. Most areas of your body that you would normally receive deep tissue work can still receive that same attention while you’re pregnant. You will leave the massage feeling wonderful!
WHAT LENGTH OF APPOINTMENT SHOULD I BOOK?
For "full-body massage" (where I say hello to every major muscle group), I need at least 60 minutes, especially if it is your first massage session. 90 minutes is even better, and 120 minutes is freakin' fantastic (but not recommended for massage first-timers).
ARE THERE ANY REASONS WHY I SHOULD NOT HAVE A PRENATAL MASSAGE?
Short answer: not usually. As with a regular massage, it is not recommended if you are in the acute stage of an injury and have not sought medical attention. Meaning, you broke your ankle and instead of seeing a doctor, you came to see me. While I feel honored that you trust me, I do need your doctor to see you first! Just as with pregnancy, I like to know that you are in communication with your medical team to ensure they believe a massage would be beneficial for you.
WHAT ARE THE CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR A PRENATAL MASSAGE?
If you have a particular condition, your medical team will alert you if massage should be avoided. If you are experiencing severe nausea, cramping or bleeding, we recommend rescheduling your massage. When in doubt, always ask your prenatal care provider before scheduling your session with me.
DO I NEED A NOTE FROM MY DOCTOR OR MIDWIFE?
Not unless you have certain high-risk conditions that could be complicated by promotion of blood flow throughout your body via massage. If you have any concerns in general about pregnancy massage, feel free to ask your prenatal care provider.
WHAT DIFFERENCE IN QUALIFICATIONS OR TRAINING DO YOU HAVE OVER A NON-SPECALIZED PRENATAL MASSAGE THERAPIST?
I'll try to keep this relatively brief: All LMTs have a short crash course during massage school on how to do a (pretty lousy) pregnancy massage with the pregnant person propped on their side with a few pillows. (IF they even get that much!) Many myths are perpetuated out of fear of doing harm (ie, no 1st trimester massage, no foot/ankle massage, massage can induce labor, massage has to be light touch only, etc.) Some take an elective course in Prenatal Massage that is far more in dept. In addition to common sense pregnancy massage practice, they learn what pregnant people want, need, and expect. Not only do they learn EVERYTHING they should know about pregnancy and birth, they also get over the pregnancy fears and myths they learned in massage school. They learn that while pregnant people require special handling, pregnancy is NOT a disease, and pregnant people are NOT fragile. They learn what to do and what not to do, when to worry and when not to worry, and also dive into the culture of birth in the USA and what pregnant people are really going through during pregnancy and the many choices they must face. They learn skills and mindsets required to be truly supportive, professional, caring, and helpful for all aspects of pregnancy. I have taken numerous Prenatal Massage courses over the years and became certified in pregnancy and postpartum massage as this type of bodywork is my passion.
I hope that this has helped you learn what makes my massages stand out compared to other massage places and how I can help you during your pregnancy. I hope you book your prenatal massage soon as I would love to work with you.