Pre-natal & Post-natal
Peri-Natal is the length of time during the pregnancy (prenatal), and the eighteen months following the delivery (postpartum).There are five aspects to Pregnancy Massage that are designed to address specific issues of the mother while her body undergoes these drastic changes. Whether you are a first mom, younger or older mom, or this is your fifth, massage is very beneficial.
1) During the first Trimester, there are not a lot of changes in the session with the exception of avoiding certain areas that can cause complications. However, this time is important to address any previous pathologies that might worsen during the term (i.e. low back pain, any muscular or structural problems, etc).
2) During the second Trimester, the changes are more noticeable and the focus is more on stretching and muscle toning. The mom-to-be is given exercises to do at home and is encouraged to network with other moms regarding health and diet.
3) During the third Trimester, lying on the back is less comfortable, and face down is out of the question; so most of the session is done on mom's side. Although there are special cushions designed for pregnancy, I have found in the last 23 years that pillows and bolsters work just as well. The emphasis is more relaxation, with continuing stretching and muscle toning around the hip muscles. In the event of being overdue, there are massage points that assist with delivery, but you must be past your due date (no cheating).
4) Delivery or Labor Massage requires an additional certification. This is done during actual Labor to assist with relaxing the mom. This is primarily for Midwives and RNs. I do not have this certification.
5) Postnatal massage can be done 48 hours after delivery. Although this means an hour away from baby, the baby is usually in the room with us. Postpartum usually refers to three months after delivery, but I stretch it to eighteen due to nursing and carrying. The focus is on the upper chest from nursing strain and the hips and low back from carrying that wriggler.
Regardless of when you start your sessions, there is an extensive health intake form for Peri-natal Massage. Also to be sure to ask as many questions as possible. If you wish to go to another therapist for pregnancy work (i.e. a female), be sure to verify their credentials. Simply graduating from Massage School does not qualify them as Peri-Natal Specialists. My training in Boston was a week long (25 contact hours) with the VNA in 1993, just two weeks from finishing a 25-hour program in NY as an Infant Massage Instructor. I am also a father of two wonderful children who enjoy their weekly massages.