Pre-Natal & Post-Natal Massage
Our therapists can work with women in their first trimester to late in their third. Each therapist understands the science, anatomy, risks and proper techniques and body positioning to incorporate in each trimester and for each woman based on her unique symptoms, needs, limitations and goals.
We encourage all women seeking prenatal massage to consult with their OBGYN in advance to ensure that all precautions are taken and that massage is safe for her at that time. This enables our therapists to most accurately provide the optimal body positioning, use of cushions, type of massage, areas to avoid and any contraindications or red flags to look out for.
Women with any of the following must obtain written consent and specific instructions prior to receiving prenatal massage at On Your Mark NYC:
Previous pre-term labor
Currently have severe swelling, high-blood pressure or severe headaches
Massage therapy during pregnancy can be a powerful and transformative way for a woman to manage the physical and emotional stress that pregnancy often presents. There is an abundant body of research that demonstrates the benefits of prenatal massage for expectant and postpartum mothers as well as their babies.
Decrease risk of anxiety and depression.
Reduction in already present symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Regulate important hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.
Lower cortisol levels in expectant and postpartum mothers AND their babies.
Relief for muscle and joint pain, especially low back and legs.
Relief from sciatica symptoms often experienced during the third trimester when the expanding uterus puts excessive pressure on pelvic floor, lumbar and sacrum structures.
Increase blood circulation and thus reduce swollen joints and edema in the lower legs.
Decrease fetal overactivity.
Decrease the risk of premature births.
Lower incidence of underweight newborns.
Enhance fetal growth and development.
On average a 3 hours shorter and less painful labor and less need for medication during childbirth.
With so many benefits, it is no wonder that prenatal massage has become so popular. But in order for women to experience the many benefits of prenatal massage and protect their health and the health of their babies, it is vital they receive massage services from licensed and certified experts.
“Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain. Cortisol levels decreased and, in turn, excessive fetal activity decreased, and the rate of prematurity was lower in the massage group. In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain, and their labors were on average 3h shorter with less need for medication.” -National Institute of Health
This is why at On Your Mark NYC, all of our prenatal massage therapists are licensed in New York State, have advanced training in prenatal massage and come with years of experience working with expectant mothers.
The specific modalities, amount of pressure and body positioning during each session will depend on which trimester a woman is in and on her preferences, needs, goals and specific medical profile. The most commonly used modalities include Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Acupressure and Lymphatic Drainage.
While there are some claims that massage during the first trimester can increase the risk of miscarriage, there is no clear evidence to support these myths. So while each woman should consult with her physician prior to receiving prenatal massage, especially if she may have a high-risk pregnancy, there is no clear elevated risk in receiving massage during the first trimester.
Regardless of which trimester an expectant mother is in, what is most important is the quality of the therapist and the relationship he or she can build with each client. On Your Mark therapists are highly skilled, experienced, attentive and responsible therapists who will conduct a thorough intake in order to incorporate a safe, supportive and healing session.
In the first trimester, one precaution that On Your Mark therapists do take is to be relatively conservative with regard to pressure, techniques and length of session if it is the first time a therapist is working with an expectant mother. While this is often the case with all new clients, pregnant or not, extra precaution is important for prenatal massage because during the first trimester a woman may still be learning how to manage the new challenges and changes of an early pregnancy.
In addition, some women may experience occasional nausea and other symptoms that a massage can trigger if the treatment is too aggressive or long. So with new clients and especially for women during their first pregnancy, being extra cautious is the best way to ensure women benefit as much as possible from the many benefits prenatal massage can offer them while mitigating any potential risks.
Even though the second trimester often involves the least amount of pregnancy-related discomfort and symptoms, there are still important changes taking place in a woman’s body for which prenatal massage can help with. First, there are all of the many benefits that massage in general has to offer; relaxation, reduced risk and easing of anxiety and depression, hormone regulation, blood circulation, detoxification via enhanced lymphatic flow and easing of muscle and joint pain.
Muscle and joint discomfort can often start to manifest during the second trimester due to changing body shape. As a woman’s belly starts to expand and weight gain begins to accelerate, more pressure gets placed on many muscles and joints, especially in the low back and pelvis. Massage therapy during this period can help mitigate the symptoms that often accompany chronically tight muscles and increased pressure on ligaments, nerves and joints.
In addition, a woman’s posture becomes more challenged as body shape changes in order for her to maintain her center of gravity. This can put extra pressure on the low back and affect muscles and joints from head to toe, as different muscles and joints must compensate for the new weight distribution and postural alignments that occur.
On Your Mark NYC massage therapists are highly skilled at identifying these often predictable but also unique changes that accompany women as they advance through their second trimester. Using postural and movement assessments, knowledge of pregnancy anatomy and excellent communication skills, therapists will be able to identify the unique postural changes taking place in order to provide strategic and targeted but still relaxing massages that leave expectant mothers feeling looser and with a feeling of overall well-being.
And so it continues, and then the end draws near! Welcome to the third trimester! As sleep becomes inconstant and difficult, the growing baby puts more stress on muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves, as the legs begin to swell with regularity, and as the stress of childbirth and motherhood approach, prenatal massage can be a godsend.
The third trimester is when the expectant mother’s body really begins to change, from an orthopedic and musculoskeletal standpoint. And so this is when deep tissue massage can be especially valuable. While it is not possible to avoid these intense body shape changes, it is possible to get some relief from them with a great massage therapy session.
Swedish massage and Lymphatic Drainage can also help reduce the discomfort from swollen lower legs. By gently and methodically massaging the legs in the direction of venous and lymphatic flow, Swedish massage has been proven to reduce swelling in significant, quantifiable and qualitative ways.
Body positioning and proper cushions are key during the third trimester. On Your Mark’s prenatal massage therapists all have at their disposal special tables with a cut out for the belly as well as special pillows and body cushions to help each client find a comfortable and safe position to lay in.
I worked out with Mark throughout my entire pregnancy. I knew halfway through the first session he was going to be a perfect trainer for me. In addition to ensuring I got a great workout, he was very particular about my form and extremely knowledgable when it came to putting together a program tailored exactly to my body's past injuries and prenatal challenges. As both a massage therapist and a personal trainer, he is many steps above so many other trainers due to his education in both fields. His light stretches and pressure point work after a challenging workout makes for a great end to the session. I highly recommend Mark whether you are pregnant or not!!!