I must admit, I am cruising through pregnancy with these twins considering the only pain I get is in the upper right abdomen area and reflux from time to time. I have not necessarily needed a massage but last week at the 22 week mark, I thought it would be nice to get a relaxing massage. However my first encounter of a pregnancy massage was everything but relaxing and here’s how the hour session went.
Wrong Bed Set Up
The bed was made up of several cushions which allowed for my belly to fit in the hole. The main problem was that my breasts were squashed on hard cushions (no hole) which made the massage very uncomfortable. I would constantly push my chest up every 5 minutes to allow for some relief. It was very awkward getting on to the bed also as the cushions would split and after stabilising myself on top, I had to wedge them back together. Not a good start.
Wrong Body Position
I found the head piece did not allow for fresh air to circulate. The depth of the cushions would have been about 15cms which on top of the head rest, there was quite a long tunnel which didn’t allow for cool air. The fact that I was lying horizontal and had inadequate fresh air, brought on reflux and a queasiness sensation quite early on in the massage. I asked for a glass of water half way through as I felt like I was about to vomit. Very awkward trying to drink lying face down in front of a stranger who happened to be male. I then requested that I turn to my left as I could not persist in this uncomfortable position.
I had asked a representative, “Are any of your therapists qualified to perform a pregnancy massage?” The reply was “Yes everyone here is fine for you.” Now looking back that response is not credible and I’m an idiot for not delving deeper into the facts. Upon booking my appointment, I asked “How are the massages performed on pregnant ladies as I currently have a large basketball on my front?” The receptionist responded, “That’s completely fine we have a special bed which your belly pops through and you lie on your front.” I thought this was genius.
Turns out the therapist has a Diploma in Remedial Massage which I’ve now checked the training package at https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/HLT50307 and there is no mention of pregnancy units of competency. This is definitely something I recommend you all check before jumping up on the bed. A few qualifications I will be looking out for in future are:
The 2 day Pregnancy and Infant Massage short course (must have minimum of Cert IV in Massage also)
Session Cut Short
At this particular clinic, the rates were as follows – $55 for 30mins, $77 for 45mins and $88 for an hour. I went for the full hour and eagerly showed up 15 minutes early, as I knew there would be paperwork to be filled out prior. I remember looking at my watch once I had positioned myself on the bed and it was exactly 2:30pm. Normally massages feel like they finish too soon as you are enjoying them all too much; however with this experience I was waiting for the relaxation feeling to come. Then suddenly after the therapist had painfully pressed down on my neck, it was all over. I looked at my watch and it had just turned 3:20pm.
At reception I was still asked for the $88 which really made the whole experience that much more unpleasant.
What have I learnt from this?
As I stated earlier, I have researched what the minimum requirements are for therapists in Australia require to safely perform massages on pregnant women. Make sure your therapist has prior training with a reputable organisation. http://pregnancymassageaustralia.com.au/
If within 10 minutes, you are still not comfortable then politely state you cannot continue with the appointment. I definitely wish I had. I guess I was naïve and kept thinking, oh it will get better soon.
I will question the timeframe there and then, if I’m paying good money for a professional service then I want the full hour. I kick myself now for not standing up for myself. I have since contacted the clinic outlining my concern. Their reply was quite defensive and it sounds like I’m a crazy pregnant lady.
THE GOOD NEWS!!
I have since had another pregnancy massage at a clinic who specialises in prenatal massage. Read who awesome my experience was here – OMG!! Prenatal Massages Are Awesome!!
For more information on prenatal massage head to these links.