I graduated from Massage Therapy School in 2001. In 2001 I took my Birth and Postpartum Doula training classes. I have been serving women through their childbearing year and beyond since then. I've had extensive continuing education in Prenatal Massage. I also teach certifying classes in Prenatal massage for other massage therapists.
I usually get a Deep Tissue Massage when I'm not pregnant. I've heard you should only use a light pressure when working on a pregnant woman.
I've had extensive training in the physiology and structure of the pregnant body. Common sense tells us that there are areas where deep pressure is contraindicated but there are many areas where deep pressure can very safely be applied (upper back and shoulders for example). This is where the pregnancy cushions are very beneficial. It is almost impossible to get the proper leverage to deliver good therapeutic pressure when a woman is lying on her side.
I've heard that you shouldn't massage the feet of a pregnant mom.
There are reflexology and acupressure points that are contraindicated until later in the pregnancy and there is a higher concentration of them along the lower leg and feet. If your practitioner is educated in prenatal massage they will know how to properly work around them. You shouldn't even notice a difference in your massage.
I've heard that massage can be helpful to induce labor
Massage can be a very useful tool to help a woman go into labor. If the body is ready and all it needs is a bit of a push to start, massage can be quite helpful. It can also help if the labor is stalled or just doesn't seem to be progressing.
I have a (pubic symphysis dysfunction, carpal tunnel, swelling, sciatica, round ligament pain). My doctor says this is a normal part of pregnancy.
Your doctor is absolutely correct and this is great news. It means that there isn't anything more serious going on. However it shouldn't mean that there is nothing you can do about it. Massage is a very effective tool for helping to alleviate these common complaints.
How frequently should I come in for a massage?
Obviously time and budge are large considerations. My usual recommendation is to follow your OB appointment schedule. For example, once a month is great for the majority of the pregnancy. Towards the end when you're seeing your doctor twice a month and then once a week, you'll probably find it beneficial to increase your frequency of massage appointments. The baby is growing and normal pregnancy related complaints can be amplified during this time. I offer discounts of packages and am able to take a FSA or HSA card for payment. This can help with affordability.