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Back massage in first trimester?

(8 Posts)
mistressploppy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:33:14

Off for a hen weekend in two weeks' time - it's been booked for ages and I'm down for a facial and a back massage.

I'll be just off 12wks pregnant; do you reckon it's ok to have the massage? What would the contraindications be? I wondered if policies about not massaging in the first trimester are more to do with potential litigation that actual risk.....

Thoughts please. I can always try and find out about changing it but it'll let the cat out of the bag, and I want to tell my mates in person!

Tangle Tue 12-Jul-11 22:45:01


I don't know of any research that's been done. I do think that a lot of it is that massage therapists / their employers don't want the potential litigation.

That said, a massage can use a lot of pressure - and things like accupuncture and accupressure do seem to work. How would you feel if you don't say anything and do then have a MC? If you tell the therapist you're pregnant they're very unlikely to want to treat you - but if you don't they won't know to avoid any higher risk areas (assuming they've had training in which areas those would be)...

Can you contact them direct? I'm wondering if they'd be prepared to do a head/neck/shoulder massage instead of the back massage - which you could ask the therapist when you get there. Manicure/pedicure are the safest ones, but they're a bit obvious after the event. Or would you be happy to tell once you're there but don't want to do it in advance?

Personally I wouldn't do it, but then I'm on pregnancy 6 with one living child to show for it so I'm a bit neurotic about it all. I have been seeing a physio and she's been brutal on my neck/shoulders, but she won't go near my lower back atm - hence my thought that they might be happy to do that for you. But it depends on you and how you perceive the risk, really.

Whatever you decide I hope you have a good time smile

Pastabee Tue 12-Jul-11 22:52:55

I think you may find they are funny about the facial too. I went with my sisters and their DCs to Centre Parcs when I was 11+5. We had booked a spa thing and I couldn't see the issue with the facial I wanted and I rang them to check.

They went on and on about how treatments such as massage or facial may restrict blood flow to the uterus in first 12 weeks. I made mistake of saying 'yes, but you say it's fine after 12 weeks so if I just add on a few days I'd be there' and they made me feel like the worse mum in the world with 'madam that's a choice for you to make in respect of your baby but we certainly don't recommend it'.

Now, don't know if what they said is true but In the end I gave up and had nice pedicure. Have developed a taste for pedicures in pregnancy. There's nothing nicer than having your poor feet rubbed. They are putting up with a lot!

I do really sympathise with you but I had a nice time in the end and they reduced the price as I couldn't use any sauna, jacuzzi etc which was nice of them.

Pinkseren Tue 12-Jul-11 23:08:40

Can't comment if it's recommended or not, but I've been having back neck and shoulder massages throughout my pregnancy (in fact from before conception as I go once a week to deal with a pre-exisiting medical condition). I felt it was better for me to have a massage than take medication to manage it as I thought thta would be more damaging than the massage. I have had no problems, except after about 20 weeks I was unable to lie on my tummy. I think a lot of the concern is in relation to pressure and the oils that are used. I have been massaged with rapeseed oil.

Tangle Tue 12-Jul-11 23:15:42

Pastabee - from what I know they may have had a policy to not offer treatments in the first 12 weeks (many places do), but their logic is badly flawed. As pregnancy progresses it becomes inadvisable to lie on your back as this can compress blood flow through the uterine artery (as your baby squashes it), which isn't great for your baby. However, it is generally only considered to be an issue during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

They may have been making a bad job of describing some other problem - but from talking to women's health physio's (who I'd speculate have a lot more training than the staff at Centre Parcs) that's the information I have re. blood flow and lying on your back.

pregnantmimi Wed 13-Jul-11 00:39:58

I used to work in 2 different health spas the policy was not to work on pregnant woman unless it was a mums to be massage treatment this is by elemis very popular as your not on your tummy.

Also i remember alot of pregnant woman having pedicures would you not want to swap to one of them?

Personally I think its more up to you what you decide if you want to have it done. xx

hermionejgranger Wed 13-Jul-11 03:58:46

my preggy books say that it's the technique and the oils that there can be an issue with - have a look at the NHS choices website here, and a couple of others here and here is a comprehensive one.

I'd speak to your GP/MW and also to the spa place that you're planning on going to - make sure they are QUALIFIED to carry out preggy massage. You can check with their professional accredited body or trade association (or whatever it is for this type of therapist). Ultimately it's probably your choice although the spa might pull the elfandsafety card (nonsense - it's your bloomin insurers you're worried about!!!) - if so I'd ask what they ARE prepared to do for you. pinkseren and pregnantmimi make good points.

Enjoy! x

LoveInAColdChamberOfSecrets Wed 13-Jul-11 07:40:29

Why don't you just contact the spa in advance and change the treatment? Then you wouldn't need to let your friends know. I did that on a hen do last weekend and it was fine. Have a nice time!

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