Guest Blog: Momassage Owner, Danielle Almendinger | Prenatal Massage | Northwest PA Doulas

Have you ever thought about getting a prenatal massage? We sat down with Danielle Almendinger, Licensed Massage Therapist and owner Momassage, and she answered all our burning questions!

prenatal massage, erie pa. momassage, danielle almendinger, northwest pa doulas

How long have you been doing massage therapy?
I graduated from my massage training in 2005. So I guess that makes it almost 12 years now.

Do you have any special certifications?
In addition to my general massage license I have a few special certifications that involve working with women in particular. 1. Reproductive Health Support 2. Prenatal Massage Support 3. Postpartum Bodywork Support

How is a pregnancy massage different than a regular massage?

As I explain to my clients Prenatal massage is not much different than regular massage. We have to make adaptations for the belly. So this will involve using different positions but the strokes and massage aspect will be tailored to the client’s needs as with any massage session.

What are the benefits of prenatal massage?

There are many massage benefits for the mother and baby when it comes to massage. My top 3 benefits would be 1. It is a drug free method of pain relief. 2. Receiving massage regularly throughout the pregnancy helps to prepare the body for labor. 3. Massage can facilitate bonding between the mother and the baby.

How early in pregnancy can I receive a massage?
You can in fact receive massage within the first trimester of pregnancy. Some places will not perform massage until the second trimester. This is simply because most miscarriages will occur within the first trimester. Know that if you are receiving massage during the early days of your pregnancy and happen to have a miscarriage it is not the massage itself that would have caused it. Most are likely to occur as a developmental issue with the fetus.

Where will my massage session take place?
Typically, I have clients come to my office space. Under certain circumstances I will come into the home to perform the massage.

Do I have to be completely undressed?
I have some clients who prefer to remove everything during the massage. Many clients will leave their under garments on. I typically tell them undress to whatever you are comfortable with. If my client is not comfortable on the table they will not be able to receive the full benefit of the massage.

What specific parts of the body do you massage?
In a full body massage I would include the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs and feet. For a pregnancy massage I would put some extra focus on the low back and hips as well as working with the belly if the mom to be is comfortable.

I’ve heard foot massages aren’t a good idea during pregnancy. Is that true?

Pregnancy Foot Massage

There are many misconceptions when it comes to the feet. I ALWAYS include the feet in my massage session. The reason being is because they bear so much weight being on them all day. The worry with massage and the feet comes from the thought that there are pressure points around the ankles that on an energetic level if stimulated could cause the mother to miscarriage/go into labor. The reality is that it would take a lot of intense work on these points to try to prove this point true. The gliding strokes performed in a massage session will not stimulate these points in a way that it will cause an issue to the mother or baby.

What is expected of me during the massage?
The truth is not much is expected beyond undressing and getting on the table. I always tell my clients to just relax and let me do the work. There may be times where I will perform some stretches or may have the woman change position but I will always explain what I am doing.

What should I expect after the massage?
Everybody's experience with massage is different. When it comes to prenatal massage some women notice a difference with the baby’s activity level. Some babies are really active after a massage session while others are really quiet. Massage promotes a restful night’s sleep so that is always a bonus for pregnant women as well as new moms. If there is an area that is really tight where we have used deeper massage strokes on you my feel a bit sore the next day or two. However, it shouldn’t be any different than the soreness you would get with a really good workout.

How often should I get a massage during pregnancy?
Since your body is always changing with pregnancy I encourage my clients to get sessions throughout your whole pregnancy. Ideally I say to time it with your visits to your OBGYN/Midwife. In the beginning they are about four weeks apart but as the pregnancy progresses they become closer together. This will help soothe the muscles as they are stretching to accommodate the growing belly.

Is there anyone that you would advise against getting a prenatal massage?
There are certain medical conditions that may require an alteration of the massage session or no massage at all. One of the main conditions that come to mind that would prohibit massage from taking place would be Toxemia/Eclampsia. Some conditions that would require adaptations/cautions would be gestational diabetes and pelvic girdle dysfunction. The conditions that can arise in pregnancy are an important reason why we do an intake session are the beginning of every session.

What is your favorite part about being a massage therapist?
There have been many favorite parts over the years. One of my favorite parts of working within this specialty area is knowing that I am providing support to women during a very important period of their lives. Knowing that you have been able to provide relief for another person whether that me physical or emotional is a very rewarding thing.

As the founder of Momassage and a Mom herself, Danielle is driven by a desire to help women of all ages enjoy all that makes being a woman special. She started her massage therapy career in 2005, graduating from Career Training Academy. In 2006 she started working at a prominent spa in Erie, PA. While there she gained valuable experience in providing relaxation to her clients. In 2008, she opened her own practice located in a wellness center. It was with her time there that she started taking a more mind and body approach to her sessions. In 2010 her interest in working with pregnant woman expanded to working with couples trying to conceive. After becoming a mother herself in 2013. training in postpartum services seemed the logical next step. In 2014 she launch her specialty MOMASSAGE Conception, Birth and Beyond.