Recently, Romy Ghosh, MD, Obstetrics/Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) at ARC North Austin Ob/Gyn, leant her expertise to the discussion that surrounds using an electric massage chair during pregnancy. She addressed some common concerns in an article in Healthline.com.
"While there have been claims that a massage chair can lead to miscarriage or premature labor, there is no evidence that that is true," says Dr. Ghosh. "Massage chairs used as intended are generally safe when pregnant."
When to avoid a massage chair during pregnancy
If you're worried about using an electric massage chair during your pregnancy, you can just skip it. Some people may find it particularly uncomfortable in the first trimester and during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy.
Additionally, you may just want to avoid the massage chair during pregnancy for other reasons, such as:
- Morning sickness
- Back pain
If you're having a lot of pain, it's a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional or midwife about why you want to use a massage chair. "It would be best if you spoke to your provider about any aches and pains you're feeling," adds Ghosh. "Low back pain, for instance, can be a sign of preterm labor."
How to deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy
During pregnancy, you may deal with lots of different types of aches and pains.
Sciatica makes it hard to walk, your pubic dysplasia is giving you lightning crotch, and back pain can be difficult.
But while a massage chair might be a solution for you, there are also other pregnancy-safe ways to find relief. And again, be sure to discuss any specific aches and pains you have with a healthcare professional, just to be on the safe side.
- Stay active – Dr. Ghosh says regular physical activity such as walking or swimming can help relieve back pain and strengthen your back, preventing other aches and pains. You might also want to try prenatal yoga or Pilates (just make sure you get the thumbs-up from your doctor first).
- Rest and ice – Ice packs and resting strained muscles can provide short- and long-term relief.
- Elevation – Putting your feet up isn't just an expression. Elevating your feet can reduce the swelling and discomfort in your lower extremities.
- Stretch – "Try adding prenatal stretching, such as cat pose, to stretch the back or a foam roller to stretch the hips and glutes, which may be contributing to your back pain," suggests Dr. Ghosh.
- Physical therapy – Many physical therapists are trained in working with pregnant people and some even specialize in it, so you might be able to safely realign, readjust, and recuperate with the help of a professional. Dr. Ghosh says a referral to a physical therapist can help when at-home measures haven't improved your symptoms.
- Beyond that, you can also talk to your healthcare professional about the appropriate use of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers during pregnancy.
- You could also incorporate acupuncture or chiropractic care into your routine but talk with your doctor or birthing professional first.
If you aren't comfortable trying out a massage chair or don't have access to one, you might be wondering if you can get a traditional massage instead. "Massage can help reduce stress and tension, improve circulation, and improve sleep, which is good for Mom and baby," says Dr. Ghosh. "Prenatal massages are generally safe after the first trimester but be sure to speak to your physician first and let your massage therapist know that you're pregnant."
Make an appointment today
Dr. Ghosh is currently accepting new patients. Make an appointment with her online or by calling ARC North Austin Ob/Gyn at 512-994-2662.