5 Reasons you should put your pregnant clients on their side.
I hear this debated on many massage forums. I get it, pregnant moms long for laying on their bellies again. I have the distinct memory of feeling my weight against my bed laying prone after delivering my child. I looked forward to that moment with every pregnancy. The Body Cushion allows for prone position and if you’re one of those massage therapists currently using the body cushion, keep doing what works AND consider another perspective. And the good news is, you can also still use your Body Cushion for side-lying position.
5 reasons you should put your pregnant clients on their side:
Avoids any possible over stretching of the round ligament
Side body access
This is the best time to introduce them to side lying for future massages post partum
- It’s this persons time for Yin. Yin refers to the alternative to yang energy in Chinese medicine. Yin energy is present and potent during a pregnancy. There are many cycles to life both micro and macro. Pregnancy represents a yin time and the more we can nurture that yin energy, the healthier the pregnancy, labor, and postpartum can be.
- Oxytocin—the Love Hormone. We know that this brain chemical is responsible for the bringing forth of spontaneous labor (when the baby is ready). And the more we can practice feeling and experiencing oxytocin throughout the duration of pregnancy, the more likely the Mother will be able to access and recognize the need for oxytocin and know how to create it. Pregnancy is the time for nurturing and warmth and being wrapped.
- Primary Movements. “Fetal position” is *the* first movement. Not only does this allow our mom to connect to the position her baby is currently in, it also resets her nervous system to feel nurtured and content.
- The argument for prone or supine usually revolves around this topic. Positioning and round ligament comfort. Have you ever looked at a diagram of the round ligament and where it is placed and how it is during the growth of the baby? I believe with every cell of my being the body is a divine masterpiece but this is the one conundrum that doesn’t make much sense. Yes, you may not overstretch the round ligament in prone position, but what if you did? Relaxin is coursing through their veins at this time and everything is going to be a little off their usual understanding. Imagine a person in prone position on the body cushion. Then imagine putting a deep pressure in the low back. Can you see in your mind how the round ligament is going to be stretching in a possible over-lordosis? Putting them in supine is not only going to prevent that but it will also shorten the round ligament.
- I love supine position, even in not-pregnancy massage sessions. Side-lying allows access to everything and more. Lateral legs, medial legs, lateral cervical, and the RIB CAGE! In pregnancy, everything is being pulled down or pushed up as the baby grows and expands. Working with the rib age allows for you to move and create space for the pregnant person to breathe.
- And a bit more on my love for side-lying. Sometimes this is the best time to introduce a person to the vast possibilities of side-lying can bring for their future massage sessions.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to give a side-lying massage during pregnancy. If you’re not feeling comfortable or you find yourself turning your body sideways (stop doing that!) to massage down the erectors—get in my next pregnancy massage class. In my class, we break down the myths that are still circulating in our industry, we bring critical thinking into the conversation, and we stop fearing this population that so desperately needs our confidence. And at the end of the day, the most important thing you can do for someone in pregnancy is touch them (safely, of course).
And always, I welcome your discussion, your passions, and your questions. Contact me.
These musings are written by myself and gathered by many courses, books, and conversations I’ve had with professionals and colleagues and through my massage practice.