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Massage For Pregnant Women – Some Benefits And Contraindications

If you feel like some pampering during pregnancy, massage for pregnant women can be a good option. Massage can also help ease back pain, stiffness and soreness, and as your endorphins get moving you’ll start to feel uplifted. When booking a massage during pregnancy, do firstly check that the massage therapist specialises in pregnancy massage, as your needs are different at this time. Here are some of the benefits of massage for pregnant women, as well as what you should be aware of, before going for a treatment.

1. Benefits Of Massage For Pregnant Women

  • Pregnancy massage promotes your overall wellness
  • It helps to reduce stress
  • It can relieve headaches
  • It can help backache
  • Massage can also benefit edema
  • It aids better sleep
  • It encourages better lymph and blood circulation
  • It can even aid anxiety and depression which had been triggered by hormonal changes
  • It helps with leg cramps
  • Massage for pregnant women can also reduce other normal discomforts experienced during pregnancy

2. What Is Different About Specialised Pregnancy Massage Therapists?

A massage therapist who has trained and practiced to be a pregnancy massage expert will know what specific issues to address when she massages you. She will either not massage your belly at all, or use extremely light touch on the abdomen area. She will also avoid strong presssure in general, as she knows that there is a risk of dislodging a blood clot.

During pregnancy your body is experiencing huge changes in the circulatory system, and the blood volume can increase by as much as up to 50%. Also the blood flow going to your legs becomes more sluggish, this means that you are at higher risk of having a blood clot in your lower legs. Additionally the anticoagulant levels rise in order to prevent a hemorrhage during delivery. A pregnancy massage expert is trained to take all of thse factors into account and use the right massage strokes accordingly.


3. When You Should Not Go For Massage During Pregnancy

  • If you have a high risk pregnancy you should not go for massage – this is of course unless your medical practitioner specifically recommends massage.
  • If you have a history of varicose veins or embolism, you should not have massage during pregnancy.
  • If you are carrying a multiple pregnancy, twins or more, then you definitely need to check with your practitioner before going for massage – this is because more babies means there is more stress on your system.
  • If you have a pre-existing health condition, such as diseases related to any of your organs, hypertension, asthma, cancer, or any condition that requires medical attention, you need to consult firstly with your doctor.
  • You should not go for massage if you are experiencing cramping, abdominal pain or bleeding.
  • Massage is contraindicated if you are vomiting or nauseous.

4. The Debate About Massage During The First Trimester

There are some schools of thought that state that you should not go for massage during the first trimester, as this is the period where miscarriages are more likely to occur – although there are no studies that directly relate massage to miscarriage, your body is undergoing so much change at this time that it is often contraindicated until the second trimester. However if you are keen, check with your doctor, as this is debatable. Some experts feel it is indeed beneficial and that once you have a low risk pregnancy and you go to a well trained expert it should be fine. Of course if you are experiencing morning sickness as many women do at this time, then you do fall into the last contraindication above of vomiting or feeling nauseous.

5. Where You Can Look For Pregnancy Massage Experts

Once you know that it is safe for you to go for pregnancy massage, then you will want to find an expert and of course let them know that you are pregnant. In Ireland there is the Irish Massage Therapists Association, which lets you search for massage therapists who specialise in various types of massage, including pre-natal massage.

You can search via their website which is:


Nuchal Translucency

12-14 weeks


Anatomy Survey

21-22 weeks


Later Dating

10-17 weeks


Gender Scan

19 weeks onwards


Growth & Well Being

22 weeks onwards


Post Dates & Liquor

40 weeks onwards

Midwife sonographer facilitated

Consultant Led, Centre of Medical Excellence 


All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.


This website was formerly Merrion Fetal Health. The clinic has undergone a rebrand and is now known as Merrion Ultrasound.