Prenatal Massage During Pregnancy: Benefits And Precautions

Prenatal Massage During Pregnancy: Benefits And Precautions

8 Jun 2022 | 5 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 607 Articles

Who doesn’t enjoy a good spa day? A body massage to relieve stress, pain, and muscle tension especially during pregnancy can be a relaxing escape from the pains and strains of pregnancy.

Whether it’s your hips that scream in pain after a long day on your feet, or your back that throbs as it supports your growing belly or your swollen feet, a prenatal massage sounds absolutely heavenly.

But the question is – “Is prenatal massage safe?”

Yes, a prenatal massage is safe when performed keeping in mind certain precautions. It can provide relief to a growing pregnant body and has several benefits, including reduced back and leg pain and improved mood. 

Here’s everything you need to know about prenatal massage.

What Is A Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage is a type of massage therapy that is specifically for expecting women. It is no different in many ways than a regular massage. Its aim is to help the expectant mum feel relaxed, work out tension from muscles, reduce soreness and improve the flow of blood in her body.

The actual body parts covered might range from foot massages to head massages when pregnant. Prenatal massages are tailored to the common areas of soreness and can be customised as per the preferences of the pregnant mum.

Prenatal massages must be carried out by certified and trained masseurs  since there are differences in the massage techniques and areas to focus on in the case of pregnancy massages.

In addition to these, the certified masseurs  know the spots that are most affected by the travails of pregnancy and have an idea on which areas to avoid.

Benefits of Massage During Pregnancy

Some of the benefits of a prenatal massage are:

  • A prenatal massage helps alleviate stress on the joints, which are always bearing the weight.
  • It reduces stress in the muscles of the body, and the associated tendons and ligaments.
  • It also reduces the common discomforts which affect pregnant mums, including back pain, foot pain, headaches, leg cramps and stiffness in the joints.
  • It alleviates the risk of heartburn, fatigue, acid reflux, nasal congestion and hip joint pain.
  • It improves blood circulation, which in turn helps increase the strength of immunity and removal of toxins.
  • It reduces the chances of depression, stress, and anxiety by restoring the hormonal balance in the body.
  • It facilitates the release of endorphins in the body, which helps the expecting mum sleep easily and feel more relaxed.
  • It increases muscle tone and flexibility, which helps the pregnant mum carry the extra weight easily.
  • It helps keep the blood pressure in the normal range and reduces the load on the heart.
  • It improves the health of the skin and the underlying tissues.
  • It increases the blood flow to the uterus and placenta to support the baby.
  • It also imparts a sedating effect on the nervous system, and facilitates easier delivery of the baby.
Discontinue using oil for massage if you experience an irritation or any other discomfort. | Image Source: pexels

Dr. Pooja Marathe, Community Expert – Lactation & Nutrition says, “Research suggests that a prenatal massage can help reduce stress, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and improve labour outcomes. It can also help regulate hormone levels, help blood circulation, and reduce swelling. Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their pregnancy.”

How to Lie On The Massage Table During A Prenatal Massage?

It is advisable to not lie on your back to get the massage, especially at the later stages of your pregnancy. This can compress any of the blood vessels running through your back, and can consequently lower blood pressure.

Usually, prenatal massages are done with the pregnant mum lying sideways, even if it is an oil massage.

However, there are some tables that have deep cut-outs in the belly area, which enable the expecting mum to lie with her face down comfortably.

It is advisable to rub or stroke your legs gently during the prenatal massage as exerting excess pressure on the tissue can dislodge a blood clot. | Image Source: pexels 

Precautions During A Prenatal Massage

It is advisable to be careful or avoid massaging certain parts of your body during a prenatal massage.

  • Your belly: You’ll probably want to avoid your growing belly and the area around it having massaged because this could hurt you or the baby.

Although it’s alright to gently rub some stretch mark cream into your belly, you might avoid it if you are in a dilemma.

  • Your legs: It’s completely fine to rub or stroke your legs gently. However, exerting too much pressure on the tissues is not advisable. 

Your blood volume increases during pregnancy and too much pressure can slow down the blood flow in your legs, making you prone to clots and can dislodge a blood clot.

  • Pressure points: You have pressure points in some regions of your body, like your wrist, ankle, or between your fingers.

Research suggests that massaging these areas might cause contractions.

Who Should Avoid A Prenatal Massage?

Your doctor might advise against getting a prenatal massage if you have:

In addition to these, it is also advisable to avoid a prenatal massage if you are experiencing nausea, morning sickness or bouts of vomiting.

Many massage therapists don’t give pregnancy massages during the first trimester because of the potential dangers of miscarriage. Hence, the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine advises all pregnant women to consult with their doctors before trying a prenatal massage.

After a prenatal massage, expecting mums experience deep sleep and feel relaxed. The improved blood circulation and reduction of muscle soreness helps them cope up with the increased weight better.



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