Prenatal Massage: Massage During Pregnancy
Modern investigation and research is proving that prenatal
massage therapy can be a very instrumental ingredient in women’s
The benefits of prenatal massage:
Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve
overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension.
Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during
pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression,
relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes
and newborn health.
Hormone regulation: Studies done in the past 10 years-
Hormone levels associated with relaxation and stress are
significantly altered, leading to mood regulation and improved
cardiovascular health when bi-weekly massages for only five
weeks. These changes also led to fewer complications during birth
and fewer newborn complications, such as low birth weight. The
evidence points strongly to maternal and newborn health benefits
when massage is incorporated into regular prenatal care.
Reduction of swelling
Edema, or swelling of the joints during pregnancy often occurs.
Massage helps to stimulate soft tissues to reduce collection of
fluids in swollen joints.
Sciatic Nerve Impingement
Many women have experienced significant reduction in sciatic
nerve pain during pregnancy through regular massage
Sciatic nerve pain is experienced by many women in late pregnancy
as the uterus rests on muscles of the pelvic floor and lower back.
Massage therapy addresses the inflamed nerves by helping to
release the tension on nearby muscles.
Reduced back pain
What precautions should be taken when seeking prenatal
massage? While receiving massage or pedicures be aware of
curtain pressure points.
Pressure points on the ankles and wrists can gently stimulate
pelvic muscles, including the uterus. The pressure point on the
hand on the fatty part of the web between your thumb and pointer
finger, on the feet between pinky and next toe, light pressure
behind shoulder blades and lower back, no reflexology or pressure
points on the top of your shoulders or your feet.
Is prenatal massage safe throughout the entire pregnancy?
As with any therapeutic approach to pregnancy wellness, women
should discuss massage with their prenatal care provider.
Women can begin massage therapy at any point in their
pregnancy – during the first, second, or third trimester. Many
facilities will refuse to offer massage to a woman who is still in her
first trimester because of the increased statistics for miscarriage
associated with the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. I use this as a
guideline as well unless provided with a doctor’s note.
Body positioning during prenatal massage-
During Pre-Natal massage the best positions are either side-lying
with pillows under head, arm and a bolster under the leg or a “Prego
Pillow” which allows you to lay face down and leaves room and
support for your abdomen . You want to make sure your spine is
straight and may use this as a guideline for a sleeping position.
Women with the following conditions should speak with a health
care provider prior to receiving a massage:
High risk pregnancy, Pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH),
Preeclampsia, Previous pre-term labor, Experiencing severe
swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches.
Incorporating Massage Into Your Prenatal Care
The benefits of massage can improve overall prenatal health for
many pregnant women. Along with the guidance and advice of a
prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be incorporated into
routine prenatal care as an emotional and physical health
supplement proven to improve pregnancy outcome, and maternal
health. Consult your midwife or obstetrician before beginning any
new therapeutic practice.