preg2Few times in life does a woman’s body go through as many changes as during pregnancy. These changes occur quickly and can result in some uncomfortable conditions. Receiving regular massage during your pregnancy may help relieve many of these conditions and massage provides a number of positive physiological effects resulting from soft tissue manipulation.

“Massage in pregnancy is so beneficial for the mother and the baby that I no longer consider it a luxury. I recommend regular massage for all my pregnant patients.”

-Bette Waters, CNM, ACCE
Author of “Massage During Pregnancy”

The primary goal in a pregnancy massage is to minimize stress of the mother and promote relaxation. In addition, massage can help prepare the body for childbirth and also relieve a variety of pregnancy related issues, including:

  • Low back pain
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Headaches
  • Cramping of the legs and feet
  • Sciatic pain
  • Sinus congestion
  • Insomnia

How Pregnancy Massage Helps massage3

Massage therapy, by definition, involves manipulation of the soft tissues, and is the physical movement, stroking and stretching of the muscles, connective tissue and joints. One of the most significant physiological effects of this manipulation is an increased flow of blood to the muscles being massaged. This results in more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to those tissues. Additionally, the increased blood flow aids in the removal of metabolic wastes that may have built up in the muscles. Other effects of this soft tissue manipulation include improving muscle and joint flexibility, a decrease in muscle tension and calming of nervous irritability and anxiety.

“ I have found with my pregnancy patients, and during my own pregnancy, that massage keeps the body healthy, physically, mentally and emotionally. Feeling healthy in all aspects makes for a more pleasant pregnancy and healthy delivery.”

-Dr. Suzan J. Smith, Chiropractor


For most women, pregnancy massage can be received safely starting in the second trimester. There are however some precautions that the client and the massage therapist should take. Before receiving a pregnancy massage it is always recommended that you consult with your OB/GYN or primary healthcare provider. It is NOT advisable to receive a pregnancy massage if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Heavy vaginal discharge (watery or bloody)
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Diabetes (Gestational or otherwise)
  • High blood pressure
  • Moderate to severe morning sickness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Fever

Beautiful pregnant woman relaxing outside in the park


During your massage session, your therapist should always take into consideration your level of comfort. Proper positioning for a pregnancy massage will depend greatly on the individual client needs. During the first trimester and in some cases early on in the second trimester it is still possible to receive a massage lying facedown. However, the ideal position for a pregnancy massage is side lying. Appropriate use of pillows and bolsters will help to make the expectant mother feel comfortable during the massage.

Many clients have questions about draping techniques and wonder how much or how little clothing to wear. The answer is, it is totally up to you. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and secure during your session.

While receiving your massage it is important to let your massage therapist know if you are uncomfortable, thirsty, need a bathroom break, or have other concerns. Client feedback is essential to your therapist performing a satisfactory massage.

Many women become more sensitive during their pregnancy. Be sure to inform your therapist if less pressure is needed

Choosing a Massage Therapistmassage therapist

Your massage therapist should have adequate training in pregnancy massage. This specialized instruction may range from specific coursework in fundamental pregnancy massage to more extensive training and certification. Depending upon their training, massage therapist may use a variety of massage styles and techniques. The most important consideration for any massage, is that you are comfortable with and trust the massage therapist you choose.

Scheduling a Pregnancy Session

Most pregnancy massage educators and doctors recommend receiving the first massage after 13 weeks of pregnancy. It is suggested that you receive a massage once every two weeks during the second trimester and once a week during the third trimester or as needed based on your individual needs. A typical pregnancy massage session can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or longer.

Prior to scheduling your first appointment is important to ask your massage therapist about their fee structure. Some therapists offer different payment plans for regularly scheduled sessions and may also offer discounts for pre-paid bulk packages. This may help you save money over the term of your pregnancy and enable you to receive the care you need without breaking the bank.

“ Massaging my patients during labor has always been an important part of my practice, helping to relieve muscle tension and promoting relaxation. I highly recommend massage during pregnancy for the same reason; it’s a wonderful way for couples/birth partners to be more involved with each other during this special time.”

-Brenda Woods, CNM

To schedule your pregnancy massage at Performance Chiropractic, call us at (661) 942-5000.