Pregnancy Massages – What’s Safe?

pregnancy-massageIt’s one of the most challenging times of a woman’s life, and the stresses and strains put on a body by carrying a child can have implications for days, months or even years. Aches and pains become par for the course, and there’s nothing a pregnant women would like more than to lie back and relax while someone soothes those tired legs and aching limbs.

But much controversy surrounds massages during pregnancy – some salons won’t touch you with a barge pole the whole nine months, others quite happily instruct you to lie on your front for a sports massage at near term. Neither of these options are sensible, but the question is – what is? We asked Priscilla Thaure, head therapist at the Gina Conway Salon in Westbourne Grove, for an expert insight into the dos and don’ts of holistic therapies while pregnant.

What should pregnant women avoid?
I would suggest avoiding massages during the first trimester as this is the most crucial time in a baby’s development and the risk of miscarriage is a lot higher. After this period you are fine to have a relaxing massage. Most essential oils are ok to use as long as they are used by a professional and after the first trimester. When carrying out a massage on any pregnant woman we need to avoid certain pressure points such the Gall Bladder, Kidneys, Large Intestine, Liver, Spleen, Bladder and the Ovary reflex. This is why it is important to see somebody who has been specifically trained in pregnancy massage.

What treatments would you recommend for pregnant women?
Our pregnant guests love our pregnancy massage but pedicures, manicures and facials are all really popular and perfect for mums-to-be.

How is a pregnancy massage tailored for the individual?
We always carry out a really thorough consultation, even if a guest has had a previous treatment as we need to be aware of any challenges or needs so that we can create a completely bespoke treatment. They may have specific issues that mean an area that would be fine for someone else should definitely be avoided.

What are the Do’s and Don’ts of antenatal treatments?
DO –  Everything you want to! After the first trimester as long as you’re happy and healthy you really can have all treatments in the salon – as long as they are adapted to accommodate your needs.

And Always ask as many questions as you want to prior to your treatment!

DON’T – Have a massage before the first trimester is over or use essential oils yourself. Definitely don’t have a treatment if you are susceptible to conditions such as placenta praevia, vaginal bleeding, blood clots, varicose veins, oedema etc..

What questions will a therapist ask?
We ask our guests to fill in a full pregnancy questionnaire prior to the treatments so that the therapist can create tailor the massage specifically.

What is the benefit of essential oils, what ones should pregnant women avoid, and why?
Essential oils can help for a number of typical pregnancy or non-pregnancy symptoms if administered by careful and trained professionals. Most oils are safe during pregnancy however we choose not to use them in our treatments at Gina Conway.

Does a therapist have to be specifically trained in pregnancy massage?
Absolutely – all our therapists who carry out the treatment are trained in advanced pregnancy massage

How can women treat themselves at home when they can’t get to a salon?
For a DIY pamper session ask your partner to run you a bath, prepare a foot soak and finish with a foot massage – bliss!

There are four Gina Conway Aveda Lifestyle Salons across London, and each offers a tailored pregnancy massage for mums-to-be. Famous faces who swear by the salons include Maggie Gyllenhall, Sienna Miller and Lulu Guinness.

The luxurious Pregnancy Massage offers an hour of blissful rest and relaxation for pregnant clients with the treatment carried out on specially designed body cushions that mould to the shape of the body so that the client can lie on their front with no discomfort. As well as being comfortable, this position also helps to alleviate tensions and stress from the abdominal muscles – allowing the baby room to move while the therapist works on any tension in the lower back. Using oils and techniques that are safe and appropriate during pregnancy, this is an essential treat for mums-to-be!

For more information see

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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