Prenatal Massage – It’s Benefits and Safety

5 min read

Written by Suma rp

Suma rp

pregnant woman getting massage

Pregnancy is the time when you require care the most. Hormonal changes as well as the growing pressure on your back and legs due to fetal development make your full body ache. Thus taking a massage session may come to you as the most desirable thing in the world. But are body massages safe during pregnancy? Yes, and that is where prenatal massage comes in.

Prenatal body massage is a great way to relax your body and mind. It can reduce the pain you feel in your legs and back during the last few months of pregnancy. And it can get more cozy and comfy when you get your partner doing it for you. But before the action, you must know what prenatal massage is and how to do it safely at home. Here is a complete guide for you. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What is a Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massages are designed for pregnant women with special care. Instead of a heavy massage or putting pressure on joints and muscles, it focuses on gentle ways of massaging with oil. For instance, the gentle rub and massage on the neck, back, or sore legs will definitely give you comfort during your third trimester.

There are various types of massage techniques like Swedish massage, myofascial release therapy, craniosacral therapy, etc. You can visit a prenatal massage care center near you or appoint a professional prenatal massage therapist at home for a massage. Tell your partner to note the details so that he can be at your service the next time.

Are Prenatal Massages Safe?

happy pregnant woman getting prenatal massage

Prenatal massages are completely safe as they are specially designed for pregnant women. So taking a gentle massage while sitting or lying sideways is safe for a pregnant woman. According to American Pregnancy Association, for safety concerns, you should avoid getting a massage in the first trimester as this time is delicate and should have no exertions.

Many prenatal massage care centers also avoid providing services for women during the first trimester to avoid taking responsibility for such mishaps. So taking prenatal massage therapies after finishing the first trimester is safe. But it would be best if you got a green signal from your doctor before taking any steps.

What is the Difference Between a Regular and Prenatal Massage?

Regular massages include lying on the belly or the back, two of which are not possible when you are pregnant. You cannot lie down on your belly with a baby bump. You cannot lie on your back either, as it can result in less oxygen supply to your baby. So prenatal massage includes using cushions to provide support to your belly when you lie sidewise. Prenatal massage care centers also often use massage tables with holes to offer enough space for your growing belly and breasts when you lie on your face.

What Are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

pregnant woman getting gentle tummy massage

There are multiple benefits of prenatal massages. Here are some vital ones

  • These massages help to reduce swells in the joints, the one very common during pregnancy. Gentle massage releases the trapped fluid from the swollen joints and gradually removes the tissue wastes.
  • Studies have shown that massages show positive results in cardiovascular health and relaxation of the mind.
  • The stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine are reduced and feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine are increased after a good body massage.
  • Massages increase blood circulation which is much needed when you are pregnant.
  • Pregnant women often suffer from blood clots in the legs and belly due to excessive pressure on the uterus. Prenatal massage will prevent the creation of such clots.
  • A good massage leads you to a good sleep as your mind and body relax. And your sound sleep is extremely beneficial for the baby growing inside you.
  • They are helpful in relieving a pregnant woman from headaches and body aches.

How to Give a Prenatal Massage at Home?

husband massaging his pregnant wife

Giving a prenatal massage is not a heavy task. Your partner can easily do it with some instructions. You can start from the head massage and go downwards or vice versa to ensure proper blood circulation throughout. Here are the massages you can try;

1. Scalp Massage

A good head massage is what you can begin with. It consists of putting coconut oil on the scalp and then moving both hands with gentle pressure all over the scalp. Your hair will also shine just like your mood.

2. Shoulder Massage

After the head massage your partner can head towards the shoulder massage. He can use both the palms of his hands or just the fingers to put gentle pressure on the neck and shoulder portion.

3. Back Massage

For an effective back massage, you can either sit straight or lie down on the sides with cushions to support your baby bump. Then instruct your partner to gently rub your back upwards and downwards simultaneously. Tell him to rub especially the muscles close to the spinal cord and upper parts of your hips as the bones and muscles of these regions bear a lot of pressure during pregnancy.

4. Foot Massage

If you are in the third trimester then your legs surely need a massage. You can get your legs massaged starting by rubbing the upper part of your foot from ankles to toes then making small circles around your knee and ankle joints. 

[Read : Prenatal Massage At Home]

When Can You No Longer Get a Prenatal Massage?

You must avoid getting a prenatal massage if you have the following conditions;

Also, hire a certified therapist for the first few prenatal massage therapies as they can best address your specific massage type according to your pregnancy condition.

Prenatal massage is a part of the prenatal care system. Timely massage can improve your overall mental and physical health. You can take one or two professional massages at the therapy center. And in between these visits, your partner can look after you.

[Read : How Does Perineal Massage Help You Avoid An Episiotomy?]


1. Where Should You Not be Massaged When Pregnant?

You should avoid massaging your belly when pregnant as any disproportionate pressure while massaging can be painful for you and the baby inside. You can gently massage the stretch mark area with oil or lotion though.

2. What Should I Wear to a Prenatal Massage Session?

You can wear whatever you feel comfortable with during your prenatal massage. you could be just in your underwear or put on a body-covering suit if you are uncomfortable. But do not wear tight-fitting clothes as they could be uncomfortable and constraining while taking the massage.

3. Do Prenatal Massages Include Feet?

Yes, prenatal massage does include mild massage on your feet. To avoid any problems related to contractions your therapist will avoid massaging the pressure points of your leg.

Read Also: How To Do Perineal Massage?

Suma rp,M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) Rayalaseema University B.Sc (Biotechnology) Sri Krishna Devaraya University.

Suma is a passionate content writer with a strong keenness to understand the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Suma has successfully transitioned into a full-time content writer and a key contributor at Being The Parent. She leverages on her experimental background in chemistry and experience in writing to come up with well-researched content that helps parents struggling to deal with various medical conditions of their children.Read more.

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