Rubbed The Right Way

Prenatal massage can work wonders, and if you can teach your partner how to do it, it's even better


A massage always feels wonderful and can relieve stress as well as aches and pains due to muscle tension. And during pregnancy, its many benefits are multiplied. Massage can also help improve your mood and even your experience with labor and delivery.

Many benefits Massage therapy has been shown to be useful during pregnancy to reduce back and joint pain, relieve depression by regulating the hormones associated with depression and anxiety, and even reduce swelling by helping the lymphatic system remove waste and fluids that collect in your joints. It goes without saying that you’ll get better sleep, too.

Of course, just as with exercise, it’s best to have a regular schedule of massages, which can get quite costly. That’s where a kind and patient partner can come in, says Santa Monica-based massage therapist Michael Trevorrow. Trevorrow and his business partner Ken Ng, L.M.T., are teaching couples how to work on each other, and are holding a special class for expecting couples on Valentine's Day weekend at The Pump Station in Santa Monica, Calif.

“We’ve been doing couples massage classes for some time now, and what we’ve learned is that it brings them closer together,” Trevorrow says. “Touch is such a basic way of connecting.”

“And my feeling is that pregnant women need to be nurtured during this time, and also need to feel that their partners are part of the process.” He and Ng are quite clear about the precautions during pregnancy, using body pillows to keep the recipients in side-lying positions. They teach partners to be aware of and avoid the sensitive areas on a pregnant woman’s body, including certain points on the sacrum, wrists and ankles, because those acupressure points are sometimes used to stimulate uterine contractions. And no one who has a history of miscarriage while they’re in the first trimester is accepted.

“Learning how to drape their pregnant partner’s body is something we teach as well,” Trevorrow says. “It’s important in the class, of course, but it’s also a way to be respectful at home.”

Trevorrow and Ng will hold their first Expecting Couples Massage Valentine’s Day Special on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17, at The Pump Station, 2415 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, Calif.; class runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and costs $99 each day. Call (310) 488-8346 to reserve your spot.

**Most experts, including the American Pregnancy Association, agree that if you’re pregnant, you should find a massage therapist who’s certified in and experienced with prenatal massage, and who knows the precautions, which include utilizing the safest body positioning (look for a therapist who uses a side-lying position, not back or belly) and avoiding sensitive pressure points on ankles and wrists that can stimulate uterine muscles. Instructors, such as Trevorrow and Ng, can show you and your partner the safe and correct techniques. Anyone experiencing preeclampsia or hypertension, who has had previous preterm labor or miscarriage, or is considered high risk, should consult with her doctor before getting a massage.