Skip to main content

Why you should totally treat yourself to prenatal massages while pregnant

Pregnancy can be a literal pain in the neck…and back, and calves, and hips, and basically any part of your body! Growing a human being is a lot of work and can really take its toll on a woman’s physical health, which is why moms-to-be should totally treat themselves to regular prenatal massages!

Many women aren’t aware of the multitude of prenatal massage benefits, especially if they aren’t accustomed to getting massages while not pregnant. Many women think that massages are simply an indulgence to be saved for a vacation or special occasion, but prenatal massages have many health benefits that can not only make pregnancy more enjoyable but can help alleviate a lot of both the mental and physical stress pregnant women may be experiencing.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Are prenatal massages safe?

For the most part, prenatal massages are perfectly safe, as long as you follow a few guidelines. Seeing a massage therapist who is trained in prenatal massage will ensure your therapist knows exactly what techniques to use on your pregnant body. Discussing your pregnancy and any concerns you have will allow your therapist to treat you in the safest way possible. Most experts also advise that a pregnant woman avoid massages during the first trimester.

“The fear is that in the hands of a massage therapist not trained in prenatal care, the massage would cause stress to the body and harm the baby, as opposed to offering the benefits of de-stressing,” Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist with Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery told The Bump. Some experts also state that massages can also trigger dizziness and exacerbate nausea if done during the first trimester. However, the American Pregnancy Association states that prenatal massage can be done at any stage of pregnancy, so it’s always best to discuss any concerns with your doctor and massage therapist ahead of time.

What’s the difference from regular massage?

Prenatal massages are typically done with the mother-to-be laying on their side, or on their back on an incline, as these positions not only provide maximum comfort but also support the abdomen and ensure optimal blood flow to the uterus and placenta. Bend Total Body Chiropractic also notes that in a prenatal massage certain pressure points in the ankles and abdomen that could potentially trigger early labor are avoided. The techniques used during a prenatal massage are also different from a regular massage. Massage therapists will avoid deep tissue pressure in favor of minimal pressure, slowly kneading trouble areas. While the techniques may be different they’re still effective in relieving stress and providing relaxation.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why get a prenatal massage?

Pregnancy can be stressful not only on your body but on your mind! Pregnant women carry a lot of worry and stress as they grow a new life, and a prenatal massage can help alleviate some of that stress. Complete Women’s Wellness notes that massage helps release hormones like serotonin and dopamine while also helping to reduce inflammation in the body. This not only makes your body feel better but your mind too. Swelling is also something that many pregnant women have to deal with and prenatal massage can help improve blood and fluid circulation in the body, which can bring down that swelling. A great prenatal massage can also help reduce joint and muscle pain that carrying around the extra weight of a baby and stress can cause. This not only makes your body feel better but can even help you sleep better.

According to What to Expect, the benefits of regular prenatal massage are numerous. Not only do prenatal massages feel amazing but they can help alleviate the following issues;

  • insomnia
  • joint pain
  • neck and back pain
  • leg cramping
  • sciatica
  • swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn’t a result of preeclampsia)
  • carpal tunnel pain
  • headaches and sinus congestion

Who shouldn’t get a prenatal massage?

While prenatal massage can truly be an amazing part of a woman’s prenatal care, the American Pregnancy Association warns that pregnant women should consult with their doctor before beginning any prenatal massage therapy if they have recently experienced bleeding, pre-term contractions, or have any of the following conditions:

  • high-risk pregnancy
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • preeclampsia
  • previous pre-term labor
  • experiencing severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
  • recently gave birth

Pregnancy is hard on a woman’s body and as the pregnancy progresses so do the aches, pains, and stresses that come with it. Regular prenatal massage is a safe and effective method to help reduce pain, swelling, and tension while providing a relaxing experience for the mom-to-be. Make sure you discuss your pregnancy with your therapist so they can determine the safest and most effective mode of massage therapy for you and your stage of pregnancy.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
One of these cool science baby names options will be perfect for your future scientist
Thinking of science baby names for your little one? We have the ultimate list to pick from
A baby playing with the mobile above their crib.

After being asked if you know if your baby will be a boy or a girl, the next question is usually about what name you're going to pick. Choosing a name for your baby is one of the first major decisions you will make as parents. Deciding between a unique name, incorporating a family name, or keeping up with the hottest name trend can be tough.

If you hope the name you choose will help shape who your child becomes, a science-themed baby name will give you an endless list to choose from. Find a name with a deeper meaning or a scientific role model for your kid to look up to. Whether you love nature, innovation, or space, there are a ton of inspirational options for science baby names, and we have a list of the best ones for your little one.

Read more
What are the signs of implantation?
Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
Woman sitting on couch and looking at a pregnancy test

When you're trying to get pregnant you can become hyper-aware of your body, looking for any indication that implantation has happened. Implantation is when an embryo implants into the uterine lining to start growing into a fetus. Implantation, like pregnancy, is different for everyone, so while some could experience implantation symptoms like some bleeding or cramping, similar to a very light period, for others, nothing may happen. Following implantation, pregnancy symptoms will begin and increase as the days progress. Read on to find out exactly what to expect in signs of implantation.

What is implantation?
Implantation usually happens five to nine days after fertilization (conception), when the embryo has already started to grow. It needs to bury itself into the thick lining of the uterus to keep growing. Without implantation, a pregnancy cannot progress. Medically, the pregnancy only begins once implantation takes place.

Read more
What to expect at every ultrasound and how many you may have
What happens when you have an ultrasound at 8 weeks pregnant? Here's what to expect
An ultrasound on a screen

Pregnancy is such an exciting time for any expectant parent. One of the most exciting moments is going for an ultrasound when you finally get that first glimpse at your bundle of joy. As your baby grows, you'll an ultrasound will allow you to see your baby as it develops. You may begin to notice facial features or even see your little one already sucking on their thumb or blowing bubbles. Those tiny feet kicking you? They’ll start to appear, too.

It’s amazing how quickly (but slowly) these soon-to-be humans develop. Your 8-week ultrasound may show a small blob-like photo, whereas an ultrasound done just a few weeks later will reveal a forming head and even cheekbones. As you progress in your pregnancy, you’ll see more and more development.

Read more