Hi! I'm Julia Donaldson, licensed massage therapist since 2014 and the mother of two young, beautiful children.
I am a prenatal and postpartum massage specialist.
This means I've been extensively trained and certified in prenatal and postpartum massage; my practice revolves solely, and completely around women before, during, and after the childbearing year.
I don't just offer cookie cutter "pregnancy massage", which tiptoes around low back and hip work, foot massage, and ONLY does side-lying massage (my mamas can lie FACE DOWN on special orthopedic cushions).
Here's the basics:
No, I can't do anything to hurt you
No, massage won't cause a miscarriage
No, you do not have to lie on your side
No, its never to early or late in pregnancy to get a massage
Yes I can work on you in your first trimester
Yes, I can massage your feet and ankles
Yes, I've been pregnant before - twice - so I know what you're going through
- Yes, I really do know what I'm doing
Yes, massage really can help you feel better
It's my job to dispel the myths of pregnancy and massage, and help you ache less, sleep great, and feel awesome. I feel its my honor to work with women in this transitional phase, and empower them in pregnancy and motherhood.
Since becoming a mother, I feel a deep sense of connection with other moms, their babies, and their birth stories.
After working as a graphic designer for a number of years, I decided I wanted and needed a change, and massage therapy "found me". Being a massage therapist, and after the birth of my babies, I've found my calling working with women in pregnancy & motherhood, and I truly love it.
I happily welcome any and all feedback you have for me, and guarantee your satisfaction!
I look forward to making you more comfortable!
What is Prenatal Massage? Massage therapy for pregnant women.
What makes Portland Prenatal Massage different than all the other places offering pregnancy massage? ALL. THE. THINGS. You wouldn't have a plumber paint your house right? No, you'd have a painter do it. But they're both skilled tradesmen?! Same idea. While many therapists are skilled at what they do, they're NOT all skilled and trained in working on pregnant women. At PPM, we're extensively trained and certified, and SPECIALIZE in prenatal and postpartum massage. It's kind of our thing. You can certainly go other places for massage, but these places are often "scared" of working on pregnant women. They don't work on women in their first trimester, they only use light pressure, they stay away from working on the feet and ankles, they make you lie on your side. We're not afraid to work on you! We don't see pregnancy as a "condition" but an opportunity to make and grow something AMAZING, Our skills and knowledge about everything pregnancy and postpartum related, will leave no doubts that we're the best at what we do.
Is it ever too early or too late in pregnancy to get a massage? Never!
Do you have to be careful on certain areas when massaging a pregnant woman? Most of these "things" are myths that have been perpetuated over time. Like: pregnancy in the first trimester can cause a miscarriage, massage on the feet and ankles can induce labor, pregnant women have to have gentle massages, and have to lay on their left side the whole time. Naturally, our mamas are positioned differently, and we do not do any deep tissue work on the legs, but for the most part, everything else is fair game.
Can prenatal massage be harmful? Not at all. Massage lowers the stress hormones in the blood, and what pregnant woman couldn't stand to be a little less stressed out? Many of the "dangerous" reasons women shouldn't get pregnancy massage are just myths. Of course, if you have any specific questions, please just ask!
What is the recommended frequency of prenatal massage? We recommend you come as frequently as your prenatal care visits. Once a month through your first and second trimesters; every other week up to week 36; weekly from week 36 on until you give birth. You can even come weekly, or every other week for your entire pregnancy - many mamas do!
Postpartum massage - the low down: We recommend you come in within the first week or so after giving birth (don't worry about your "condition", we've been there, seen it all, and don't judge!). Bring baby with you - nursing, and changing blowouts are totally normal around here. Our adjustable bodyCushions™ support and make room for nursing mamas' breasts, which can often be painful and uncomfortable to lie on when face down. We recommend you continue to get massages every other week till your reach 16 weeks postpartum. Self care makes a HUGE difference to new, and even the most seasoned mom, as well as everyone around her in those early weeks and months.
How can prenatal massage help me? At some point in pregnancy, most women experience some overall aches and pains, swelling, headaches, insomnia, low back, hip pain, and sore feet, to name a few. In short, massage will make you feel better in just about every way, which will make you a happier mama. No drawbacks there!
Can I lie FACE-DOWN during my prenatal massage? YAAASSSS! We are experts in using special orthopedic bodyCushion™ - cushions that are fully adjustable to accommodate your growing belly and breasts during pregnancy, and provide maximum comfort and relief. If you do not find you are comfortable in this position, we can adjust them so you can lie on your side instead, but most mamas describe these as being EXTREMELY comfortable!
Can I lie flat on my back during pregnancy massage? Only during the first trimester. After that, you are propped up in a super comfortable, semi-reclining position (pillows for days!), with your knees and feet slightly elevated too. (This is also a great sleeping position while pregnant!)
What do I need to wear? Come however you like. Before your session begins, we will explain what position to get in on the table, and how to do so. We will ask that you undress fully, as we prefer not to have to work around anything. If you feel you must leave undies on, that's ok too, but we'll explain why NOT wearing them will be more beneficial to you. You will be covered at all times, save for the area we are working on, which will be masterfully draped and secured, and then recovered as we move on to another area. You will always be modestly covered, and should never be uncomfortable, but we will check in with you periodically to make sure this is the case.
How long of a session should I schedule? For a full-body massage, we need at least 60 minutes. 75 minutes is even better (we can do a full body massage with extra focus on another area of concern), and 90 minutes is *cue angels singing* THE BEST (a full body massage, with some extra time on 2-3 areas of choice)! Shorter sessions of 30 minutes usually focus on a few areas, tops.
Do you work only with pregnant women? Not at all! Most of our clients are, yes, but we are happy to work on postpartum moms, partners, kids, friends, moms, dads - you name it.
What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy? click here
What if I'm running late for my appointment? Please, please, please call if you know you're running late. We will likely have to cut into you massage time if this is the case, and letting us know in advance is really helpful so we can be more proficient when you arrive. Our business runs on time, and just as we respect yours, we ask that you respect ours in return.
What if I go into labor and have to cancel my appt? click here to see our policies. We know you can't plan when you go into labor, so we're a little more understanding with our laboring mamas, but DO still have a policy. Please ask if you have any questions!
What is required to reserve my appointment? Your full name, email address, mobile number, as well as a credit or debit card on file to guarantee your appointment.
Do you take walk-ins? We do not. Appointments are required.
How can I get in sooner for a massage if the schedule is full? You probably noticed we book out quite a ways in advance. We usually recommend booking at least a few sessions out at a time, to ensure you can get in when you want to. If it looks like you'll already be waiting some time to get in there are a few things you can do:
1) Make sure to follow us on social media (Fb/IG) where we post last minute cancellations.
2) Check the schedule from time to time for new openings that haven't be posted on social yet.
3) Try booking a shorter session.
Do you have a waiting list? We do not (we used to, but it was getting out of control!). We will post any last minute openings on social media, so be sure to check us out on there (Fb/IG).
Do I need a note from my doctor or midwife? Unless you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, or a condition that could be worsened by increased blood flow during massage, you should be fine! We will let you know if there is anything concerning on your intake form, and we can discuss how to move forward from there.
Do you accept insurance? Not currently.
Also, we have a great referral program: for every person you refer to PPM - you get $15 OFF your next massage!
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“I’ve had a lot of pain since week 10 of my pregnancy, due most likely to Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction. When I left the 60 minute session, it was the first time I could walk without pain in months and felt almost like pre-pregnancy... I felt better after I left, and also had the chance to connect with a mom who gets how uncomfortable pregnancy can be. I didn’t feel judged at all for my dislike of certain symptoms and felt like “this lady has been there too”. She made sure to check in with my comfort levels every step of the way.”