Massage is rubbing the soft tissues of the body, including the skin
and muscles. Massage therapists usually apply pressure with their hands, but
they can also use their forearms, elbows, or feet. Some people believe that
massage works because the touch is healing. Touch also communicates a sense of
When you are pregnant, you can use massage therapy for relaxation and
to help relieve muscle tension and pain. But for massage to be safe during pregnancy, make sure that you:
Tell your massage therapist that you are
Avoid aromatherapy oils, some of which can be unsafe during pregnancy.
Avoid massage of your belly. Firm massage of the
pregnant belly could cause serious pregnancy complications.
with your massage therapist about your body position during massage. There are
special tables for use during pregnancy.
As your pregnancy progresses, the best
positions for you to be in are sitting on a chair or stool, or lying on your
side (the left side is best later in pregnancy) during your
Starting in mid-pregnancy, avoid lying on your back. This
will prevent extra weight from pressing on the major blood vessel called the
After 12 weeks of pregnancy (or much earlier if you are
carrying twins or more), avoid lying on your belly so you don't increase strain
and pressure on your uterus and low back.
Be sure that your massage therapist is specially trained in pregnancy
massage and is certified by your province or a national body, such as the Massage Therapy Alliance of Canada. This ensures that your massage therapist has a
certain level of training and uses certain practice guidelines.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology