Your pregnant massage clients deserve a little extra special attention. You can give them exactly what they need; all it takes is a comprehensive, well-designed intake form.
You ask every client that crosses your threshold to fill out an intake form with basic information regarding health status, injuries, medications, activities and other factors that might influence the way and type of massage you give. It’s even more important to ask these questions of clients who are pregnant, with special emphasis on their condition. Knowing the specifics about their health will help you customize your massage and provide the optimal experience for your client.
Claire Marie Miller, director of Claire Marie Miller Seminars and creator of Nurturing the Mother, created a basic intake form for her pregnant clients that asks about their expected due date; number of pregnancies and number of births; areas of discomfort; past injuries; and work situation. The responses to these questions provide insight that helps you better understand your client’s current and past history and how to proceed with the massage.
The section that lists medical conditions is probably the most critical. Miller’s form asks about high or low blood pressure, thyroid problems, morning sickness/nausea, constipation, varicose veins, preterm labor, edema, sinus congestion, hemorrhoids, headaches, heartburn, rashes/hives and diarrhea.
A “yes” response to any of the questions about health conditions does not necessarily mean you should refuse to provide massage, but you will most likely need to make some adjustments.
For instance, if a woman is predisposed to high blood pressure, she may need to lie on her left side throughout the treatment. “Someone with high blood pressure could develop severe edema, which could cause kidney problems. If you do massage and the kidney is not functioning, the woman could develop preeclampsia and then toxemia. [The situation] goes fast, like turning on a light bulb,” Miller says.
Each time your pregnant client comes into the office, you should update her intake information, since conditions change from one trimester to another. Issues like morning sickness sometimes disappear after the first three months, but in some cases may persist throughout the entire pregnancy. “You should revisit the information to make sure nothing has changed,” Miller says.
Miller also includes questions related to the woman’s occupation. Does it involve a lot of sitting or standing? Does her job involve a significant amount of computer or telephone work? The answers to these questions alert you to potential problem areas and help you tailor the treatment.
One of the key questions on Miller’s intake form pertains to prenatal care. “I want to know if my client is seeing a midwife or health care practitioner,” she says. Some of the health issues a woman presents with may require physician approval before she can have massage. And certain medications may cause side effects that could exacerbate unpleasant symptoms during or after massage. Miller points out collaborating with other health care professionals can minimize any risks to her pregnant client and the baby she is carrying.