Can I have a massage when I’m pregnant?

Pregnancy can be one of the most challenging times in a woman’s life, and certainly one of the most physically and emotionally demanding. Whilst not everyone enjoys regular massage, many women find a massage can be extremely relaxing; relieving stress and reducing the strain, pain and discomfort of the overburdened body.

Some therapists refuse to treat women during the first trimester of pregnancy due to the increased chance of miscarriage in this period. There is however no proof that anyone has miscarried due to a massage. Provided that precautions are taken to massage gently, keep body temperature normal, avoid pressure points related to labour/contractions and avoid certain essential oils then first trimester massage can be entirely safe. Obviously if nausea/vomiting is being experienced then massage is contra-indicated.

Prenatal massage offers a wide range of benefits, which may include the following:

  • Eases backaches, headaches, shoulder and neck aches that may be caused by muscle tension and shifts in posture to accommodate increasing weight
  • Decreases pain in the pelvic/hip area
  • Increases circulation
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves skin elasticity that can help reduce stretch marks
  • Helps reduce swelling in such places as hands and lower legs
  • Can alleviate the stress on weight-bearing joints, like the knees, which are impacted by the extra weight of a growing baby
  • Promotes relaxation and deep breathing
  • Helps lessen anxiety and promotes a feeling of relaxation and wellness.

When to avoid having a pregnancy massage:

  • If your midwife or doctor have advised you against it.
  • If you are in a high risk pregnancy category or have previously had a premature labour.
  • If you have Pregnancy Induced Hypertension e.g. high blood pressure.
  • If you have pre-eclampsia, or sudden swelling with retention of fluid. If you experience severe headaches.
  • If having a pregnancy massage causes you to feel sick, lightheaded, gives you a headache or you don’t enjoy the experience. Don’t feel as if you have to do it just because others feel it’s a good idea.

Taking time for yourself during pregnancy can be emotionally uplifting at a time when you might be feeling a little stressed, anxious or overcome. The soothing essence of massage allows the pregnant mum to unwind and feel serene, healthy, and comforted during a period of added physical and emotional stress. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or midwife first to give you peace of mind, and always ask questions of your massage therapist if you are uncomfortable or not sure of something.