China Elevator Stories

“Can Pregnant Women Have Massages?”

I chat with a 20-year-old woman at a massage parlour in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


Ling loves to tell me about other foreigners she has met.

She says: “When I was working in Guangzhou, there was a guy living close-by who would always say ‘hello, hello’ when he saw us. We would then reply ‘hi, how do you do?’. He’d then say ‘I’m fine’. My English isn’t very good, but I still remember these few sentences. I have learned a lot of English at school, but I hardly ever use it, so I have forgotten almost all of it. I used to live in a neighborhood in Guangzhou that had many black people from Africa. The women used to carry stuff on their heads. They can carry really heavy stuff on their heads.”

Ling has grown up in Guangxi and has been living in Guangzhou before she came to Shenzhen. She has also told me about Zhuhai, another city in Guangdong province.

I ask her: “Which of the places you’ve been to do you like the most?”
She says: “Zhuhai. It’s a laid-back city. It’s not as crowded as here. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are too expensive. How much do you guess does a glass of bubble milk tea cost in Zhuhai?”
“I don’t know.”
“It costs 6 Kuai. You can even get it for 4 Kuai. Do you know how much it would cost in Shenzhen?”
“30 Kuai?”
“Yes, something like that. Around 20 or 30 Kuai.”

I ask her about a different topic: “Can pregnant women have massages?”
She looks alarmed, stops the massage for a moment, and says: “No, they can’t. Are you pregnant?”
I tell her: “No, I’m not. I’m just curious. Can’t they even have a foot massage?”
She tells me: “No, any kind of massage is not recommended for pregnant women. It has to do with the blood.”
I answer: “I see.”

Have you ever had a similar conversation?

On a side note: I have read up on this topic, since I found it interesting. I have discovered that pregnant women can actually have massages, but should only go to therapists who are specially trained in giving prenatal massages. Massages for pregnant women are different from those for non-pregnant ones.