Need a little TLC during your pregnancy but not sure what’s safe when it comes to spa treatments? We speak to Moira Pirzad, Owner of De La Mer Day Spa and Tukta Rotsettha, their Head Therapist, to find out the latest on what you can do, when you can do it and what you should avoid.
Why is antenatal massage important?
Antenatal massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is very important when you’re pregnant, as well as keeping your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency and flushing out toxins from your body.
Regular ante-natal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping, and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn’t a result of preeclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion. Basically it can assist with all sorts of common pregnancy problems.
When is it advisable to have antenatal massages?
Women should only consider antenatal massages after the first-trimester, as miscarriage usually occurs in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you have had or still have underlying health conditions, it may be best to avoid an antenatal massage. Women often experience high blood pressure during pregnancy, and a massage can often aggravate this condition as it works on circulation through massaging techniques. Your doctor will be the best person to guide and advice you.
When is the best time and how will I know it is safe?
The best time is during your second trimester. Morning sickness is behind you and your energy levels are higher. The second trimester is also the time when the chances of miscarriage or early labour are less of a worry. The good news is that prenatal massage has become so popular that many therapists and spas provide specialised services just for mums-to-be (always tell your therapist you’re pregnant). Plus, there are prenatal massage tables and pillows that can make the experience safer and more comfortable.
Certified pregnancy massage therapists are trained on what pressure points to avoid when performing a pregnancy massage. These pressure points are:
Ankles – some points near the ankles are connected to the uterus and pelvic region, and when massaged can cause them to contract.
Lower torso – the lower back, abdomen, and the sacrum are avoided to avoid potential harm or injury to the fetus, and trauma to the uterus.
Hands – there are two pressure points that should be avoided on the hands during antenatal massages. These are the fleshy parts between the thumb and the forefinger, and a certain area around the wrists. All areas can cause contractions.
What about after giving birth?
Postpartum massage can be as important and beneficial as massage during pregnancy. Postpartum bodywork is an effective and holistic approach for the many adjustments to motherhood. Unique postpartum benefits include hormone regulation, reduced swelling, better sleep and improved breastfeeding. More advanced therapy helps restore your body to its pre-pregnancy condition, speeds healing and assists with C-section recovery.
Most new mums feel exhausted after labour and delivery, not to mention with round-the-clock baby care! Massage will ease the fatigue, promote relaxation and assist with sleep. Studies have shown an increase in delta brain waves (those that accompany deep sleep) with massage therapy, which is why it is very common to fall asleep during a massage. Getting enough sleep is key to postpartum recovery. Everything improves when you feel rested! Arrange some help and get regular massages for better rest and sleep.
You may start receiving postpartum massages as soon as you feel comfortable. Your therapists will position you comfortably if your abdomen or breasts are sore. If you have had any complications surrounding the birth, you should first consult with your doctor.
What other treatments are OK for expectant Mums?
Facials are fine - steam can be used but never ozone as this is too stimulating for pregnant women. Strong smelling oils are also a no-no. The best oils for pregnancy are base oil like Japanese Camellia Oil, Sweet Almond, Virgin Coconut Oil and Olive Oil.
Full body scrubs can be done as these are excellent for exfoliating and moisturising the skin but wraps can only be done on the tummy as they are detoxifying which is not allowed during pregnancy. At De La Mer Day Spa we do an Organic Coconut Body Glow and a Sugarlicious Scrub. We also do an Organic Tummy Wrap.
De La Mer Day Spa. Jumeirah Beach, Umm Suqueim 2, Villa 783 (04 328 2775).