Prenatal Massage and HELLP Syndrome
Prenatal massage therapists need to have an understanding of complications of pregnancy that could contraindicate massage in their clients. One of the most severe conditions that may affect pregnant women is called HELLP Syndrome.
HELLP syndrome is a serious, but rare, complication of pregnancy. Chances are if a prenatal massage client has HELLP, she is too sick to come for a massage, so it is very unlikely that a prenatal massage therapist is going to encounter it during a massage session. However, if you suspect that your prenatal client has any serious complication, do not perform massage, and if necessary, call 911 or secure other help for your client.
What is HELLP Syndrome?
HELLP syndrome is extremely rare, occurring in only 2 out of 1,000 pregnancies. Approximately 20% of women who develop preeclampsia or eclampsia go on to develop HELLP Syndrome. HELLP can develop during the pregnancy or after giving birth. It is named for the following blood and liver conditions:
H–Hemolysis, a condition where red blood cells rupture, leading to a reduction in oxygen delivery throughout the body.
EL–Elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of a problem in the liver.
LP–Low platelet count, which interferes with the ability of blood clotting.
- Visual disturbances (blurriness)
- Rapid onset of edema/water weight gain
- Nosebleed, or other bleeding, that persists without quickly clotting
- Abdominal pain, most often on the upper right side
HELLP syndrome can become life threatening for both the mother and the baby, so it usually leads to an emergency induction or C-Section, even if the baby must be born prematurely.
Prenatal Massage Certification
Massage therapists who wish to become certified in prenatal massage can do so through the Institute of Somatic Therapy. We offer a variety of options, including prenatal massage certification, doula certification, infant massage certification, and fertility massage certification. To see these, as well as many other massage therapy online continuing education courses, visit www.massagecredits.com.
Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a conatinuing education approved provider, #280672-00. Our courses are valid for NCBTMB, AMTA, ABMP, and most states.