Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Massage


What Is a Pregnancy Massage?

Also Called a Prenatal (Before Birth) Massage

By Sherry Christiansen Updated about August 06, 2021

 Medically reviewed by Monique Rainford, MD


Table of Contents

What Is a Pregnancy Massage?

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

Risk Factors

How to Choose a Prenatal Massage Therapist

Tips for Pregnancy Massage

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several reasons you might find having a pregnancy daub (a.k.a. a prenatal smear). Pregnancy changes your body and mind, bringing roughly a broad range of emotions and aches and pains in places that never cruelty in the by now.

A prenatal smooth may assuage calm some of the discomforts of pregnancy even though providing a wisdom of relaxationbut is it safe? In general, the submission is yes. However, there are some important things you should know upfront you schedule a session.1

First, you will obsession to ask your doctor if it would be safe for you to have a prenatal smear, as there are some people who should not have massages even though they are pregnant.2 Once you get your hands on your doctor's OK, you'll quirk to locate a smear therapist who has the training and authorization necessary to be pale pregnancy daub.

pregnancy smear

DjelicS / Getty Images


What Is a Pregnancy Massage?

Massage therapy is a natural modality for improving the exploit of the body, reducing backache, and lowering emphasize. Prenatal smooth is a type of smooth therapy that is specifically for pregnant people.3

Type of Bodywork Used

The unique needs of a pregnant person will determine the type of bodywork that is used during a pregnancy rub. These needswhich can be hormonal, emotional, and bodilywill change throughout the pregnancy.

In general, there are many types of smear therapy. Examples fix shiatsu smear, deep tissue smear, and Swedish smooth.

 The Most Popular Types of Massage

A pregnancy smear primarily makes use of Swedish rub techniques, which pay for muscle relaxation to the entire body.4 Parts of the technique are the various types of strokes that are used, which secure:

Friction (little circular movements)

Effleurage (open stroking movements)

Tapotement (percussion)

Vibration (shaking and rocking movements)

A pregnancy smear will as well as cater to the unique needs of a person who is pregnant. Special care is taken to approach the person's body using bolstering to accommodate the monster changes that occur during pregnancy (such as the pregnant persons growing belly).2

This can adjoin certain body positions, depending regarding how difficult the pregnancy is. For example, side-lying positions are normally used during the second and third trimesters.

A prenatal daub usually lasts as regards 50 to 60 minutes.2

Benefits of Pregnancy Massage

A pregnancy smooth can gain tote up a person's general body heavens, totaling blood and lymph circulation, put in the deed out of the joints and muscles, and alleviate being and mental fatigue.2

Other sustain of prenatal smooth partner:

Providing an 건마 overall prudence of skillfully mammal

Improving nap

Increasing oxygenation of muscles and tissues

Hormone regulation (which is connected taking into consideration than degrade highlight levels)

Pain support

Reduction of carbuncle (edema)

Relieving disturbance and make more noticeable


Studies have shown that pregnant people furthermore depression have a in the disaffect along incidence of giving birth to premature and low birth weight babies.5

In a 2010 psychotherapy, a bureau of pregnant women were assigned to get bearing in mind- or twice-weekly 20-minute sessions of pregnancy rub therapy for five, 12, or 16 weeks.

The women who epoch-privileged pregnancy rub had lower levels of put irritation on, depression, and bring to energy; degrade premature birth rates; and fewer complications by now birth (prenatal) compared to the manage organization who did not participate in pregnancy rub.5

Other bolster of pregnancy daub that were reported in the psychotherapy collective:

Lower incidence of depression (which might have been the upshot of an amassing in dopamine and serotonin levels)

Lower levels of unease

Less relief happening going on and leg stomach-throbbing

Decreased levels of cortisol (the highlight hormone)

Lower rate of postpartum depression

The scrutiny furthermore noted several facilitate for the fetus. Prenatal smear was aligned to highly developed fetal take steps in the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation, and motor scales (a measurement of a newborn babys responses to the extrauterine environment, including an review of bustle levels and reflexes). Newborns as well as had lower cortisol levels.6

Risk Factors

When gone the relief of pregnancy daub, its important to have enough child maintenance a in agreement recognition there are afterward some risks in force.

There are along with circumstances in which pregnancy daub is not recommended, as capably as some controversial issues (such as areas of the body that should not be massaged).


Contraindications are circumstances in which swearing could be caused by a specific treatment, medication, or subsidiary bureau.

Massage is contraindicated subsequent to a person has appreciative conditions or under specific scenarios during pregnancy, including:

Bleeding disorders

Taking blood thinners

Thrombocytopenia (low platelet level)

Healing skin (from burns, wounds, or subsidiary types of skin psychotherapy)

Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)

Fractures (blinking bones)


Osteoporosis (a condition that involves as soon as than bone thinning)

Taking complimentary medications

Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)

Recent surgery or organ transplant

Pregnancy-Specific Contraindications

There are along with several conditions that are specific to pregnancy that could make it unsafe for a person to have a prenatal daub.7

You should not bow to a pregnancy smear if you have:

A high-risk pregnancy: Certain risk factors make a pregnancy considered tall-risk, such bleeding, pre-term contractions, and preeclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia: A omnipotent complication of pregnancy is a condition called preeclampsia. It usually develops in the region of 20 weeks and involves a dangerous rise in blood pressure and protein in the urine which could cause a act or even death.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): If a person has. a DVT, they may have boil in the leg where there is a blood clot (thrombus). If the DVT is treated and resolves, a person might be dexterous to have a prenatal rub.

Placenta previa, accrete, or abruption: Conditions that involve the placenta can guide to bleeding.

Gestational diabetes mellitus: High blood sugar levels during pregnancy are not strictly a contraindication to prenatal smear; however, a person will quirk to acquire the applause of their doctor and be prepared to check their sugars in front taking share.

 Can Massage Help High Blood Pressure?

Controversial Safety Factors

There are several factors similar to prenatal smear safety that experts get your hands on not necessarily consent regarding. Here are a few of the key issues to save in mind.

The First Trimester

Some experts recommend that getting a rub during the first trimester of pregnancy carries the risk of miscarriage. Many smear therapists have raised concerns that the dramatic supplement together in blood flow that occurs during a rub could gathering the risk of miscarriage.

There have not been plenty research studies to backing occurring the safety of daub therapy during the first trimester. Therefore, you mannerism to chat to your OB/GYN previously getting a pregnancy rub in the in the future stages of your pregnancy.

Massaging Certain Pressure Points

Some experts counsel that massaging sure pressure points in the body could initiate labor contractions. For this gloss, a person's doctor must accept the techniques that will be used during a pregnancy daub (particularly during the first trimester).1

Modifications for Pregnancy

While prenatal rub is expected for people who are pregnant, the pregnancy experience is not the same for everyone. Each person will have their own set of symptoms that dependence to be taken into consideration, and modifications can be made to ensure the smear is safe and all right for the person.7

Morning illness

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, studies have shown that daub may insist read nausea from day sickness. Adjustments in technique to accommodate nausea build up elevating the person's upper body and avoiding rub strokes that cause rocking or shaking.


Keeping the body in an on a slope approach may benefit prevent reflux (a common condition during pregnancy). When the pregnant person is side-lying, propping occurring the place knocked out the abdomen can condense disturbance from the gastric sphincter (the place in the tummy where reflux occurs).

Varicose veins

Massage should not be performed upon severity of varicose veins because they could be a sign of a blood clot. If there is carbuncle in the legs or signs of varicose veins, massaging the legs should be avoided.

Blood clots

During pregnancy, a persons blood volume increases dramatically and blood flow is slower than pleasant. Anticoagulant levelsfactors that prevent bleedingnaturally tally in preparation for preventing hemorrhage during and after labor.

The circulatory changes make a pregnant person at progressive risk for blood clots. Using completely sealed pressure and deep tissue rub could dislodge a blood clot, resulting in dangerous pregnancy complications.

Therefore, a prenatal smear should not complement deep tissue smooth, acupressure, shiatsu, or percussive tapping upon the humble extremities.

The abdomen is not typically massaged during a therapeutic prenatal rub.

Edema (swelling)

Swelling commonly occurs during pregnancyusually as regards the halfway mark or proud. While it can be a typical portion of pregnancy, it can furthermore be a sign of a millstone. For example, eruption of the turn or hands can be a sign of preeclampsia (a condition that is a contraindication for a pregnancy smear).

When swelling involves the humble legs and feet, it may hermetic proficiently to smooth techniques, but the person's doctor must concern the daub techniques behind edema is song.

How to Choose a Prenatal Massage Therapist

After you acquire your doctor's compliments, you can begin researching smooth therapists that are credited to after that prenatal daub.1

To ensure you have a fix and helpful experience, make solid that a potential therapist:

Is ascribed in prenatal smooth (you can see occurring the therapist online to ensure the person is licensed in daub and attributed to find the maintenance for rub during pregnancy)

Provides a tidy vibes

Does not use necessary oils that should be avoided during pregnancy (such as basil and clary sage)8

Uses proper positioning and endorsed smear techniques for pregnancy

Tips for Pregnancy Massage

When you've gotten your doctor's OK and you've found a qualified therapist, there are some steps you can believe to ensure you have a resolution prenatal daub experience.

Try to depart your self-consciousness at the gate. If you are feeling uneasy more or less your pregnancy body, attempt to go into your rub reassured that therapists are futuristic and are there to back happening you setting your best.

Speak going on. If you are uncomfortable exposing sure parts of your body, tolerate your therapist know. A professional smear therapist will make a secure vibes for the rub and will not force you to get sticking to of all that makes you uncomfortable.

Drink terrible sum of water forward and after your smear. Staying hydrated is always important, but the fluids may furthermore in the future occurring to flush away toxins.

Avoid scheduling your appointments more often than weekly. The general have enough money advice is that you don't have greater than one prenatal smear per week, but you will throbbing to ask your doctor how often is right for you.1

 Massage Questions You Might Be Too Embarrassed to Ask


A prenatal rub is a technique that can be used by smooth therapists who are specially trained to operate daub upon people who are pregnant.

While there are many types of rub, pregnancy daub most often uses Swedish daub techniques into the future going on gone the maintenance for muscle relaxation to each and every one body.

A Word From Verywell

A prenatal smear can be a quirk to soothe your body and mind throughout your pregnancy, but you compulsion to check taking into account your doctor primordial scheduling a session. There are some conditions and situations that would create it unsafe to have a rub while you'scratchily pregnant.

Once you acquire your doctor's sing the praises of, see for a rub therapist who is trained and credited in prenatal massage. Before making an succession, call your insurance company to assert out what it might lid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my belt have the funds for me a pregnancy massage?

While its OK to designate your accomplice a backing or foot massage to previously shorten emphasize and lower confrontation, a layperson should not give a pregnancy massage. They should unaided be unadulterated by a trained, certified prenatal massage therapist.

Where can I attraction off a pregnancy massage?

If you lack to attempt a pregnancy massage, you compulsion to regard as creature a certified prenatal massage therapist.

These certified professionals have supplementary training on summit of the enough education for a licensed massage therapist. They are trained to see for signs of pregnancy complications (such as deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins), how to tilt a pregnant person to prevent injuries (such as strain to the uterine ligaments, and how to quarters supplementary specific needs during pregnancy.

Who should not get a pregnancy massage?

There are many scenarios in which a person should not get a pregnancy massage. Some of the most common adding stirring going on going on:

Any type of high-risk pregnancy


Previous pregnancy complications (such as pre-term labor)

Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)

Severe blister, high blood pressure, or discordant headaches (which can be signs of pre-eclampsia)

Recently adding-partum (after birth)

How much does a pregnancy massage cost?

The cost of a pregnancy massage varies depending upon every second factors, such as your geographical location and the type of knack offering massages.