Prenatal Massage: a case for the side lying position

Salvation Wellness Blog Prenatal massage side lying

Here in Jersey City, we see more and more options for the moms-to-be with various products aiming to make their prenatal massage more enjoyable. If you are a mom to be, you may hear about special cushions or pillows that go on top of a table that has special cut-out sections for your pregnant belly and breasts, allowing you to lie face down throughout your pregnancy. This sounds like a dream come true if you have been struggling to adapt to lying on your side as your pregnancy progresses. In fact, this is often one of the first questions prospective clients ask when they call; “Do you have a special table so I can lie face down?”

No, in fact, we don’t.

Because experts in the field caution against using these tables and recommend other positions as optimal for pregnant clients, for the following reasons:

  • No matter how well these tables try to support the belly, they still put women into a position in which her uterus is now suspended from her low back by an already stressed ligament structure and lumbar spine. These stressed ligaments are often the cause of many pregnancy aches and pains that women are looking to alleviate in a prenatal massage.
  • Having massage applied to you while lying face down means the therapist is leaning their bodyweight into you. This risks increasing intrauterine pressure. Not good.
  • Many women are very uncomfortable lying face down as they feel they are lying on top of their baby, despite the accommodations of the belly cut-out.
  • For women who are quite advanced in their pregnancies, it can be quite awkward to attempt to lower both your belly and breasts into these pre-cut holes and then turn over later in the massage.
  • One size does not fit all. Though these holes are meant to accommodate the average woman, the variation in sizes of women’s torsos, pregnant bellies and breasts complicate the ability of these tables to support all women.
  • One alternative to this style of table is a large pillow that covers much of the table and provides similar cut-outs for the breasts and belly, allowing the woman to lie face down. In addition to all the above frustrations, there is not enough of an opening for the woman to breathe well and she can sometimes leave feeling suffocated.
  • For women experiencing increased sinus congestion in their pregnancy, a prone position will put pressure on her sinuses and aggravate this discomfort during the massage.

Now you can see just a few reasons why we at Salvation Wellness believe that the optimal positioning for pregnancy massage remains side-lying and semi-reclined positions. Fortunately, our highly trained therapists have the proper pillows and experience to make you a lot more comfortable than you are in your own bed (or so my client’s claim) while you are in your side-lying and semi-reclined position. 

So while it is so tempting to get on a cut-out massage table, think it through and then come talk to us 😀

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