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Pregnancy massage

3-minute read

Pregnancy massage can help you cope with the changes to your body that occur while you are pregnant. It can be especially useful to ease discomfort at a time when you can't use some medicines or some other medical options.

What is pregnancy massage?

Pregnancy or prenatal massage is used to reduce stress, reduce swelling in the arms and legs and relieve muscle and joint pain in pregnant women.

Massage in pregnancy can involve many different massage techniques. It is usually a gentle massage.

What does a pregnancy massage involve?

Pregnancy can put a lot of stress on your back, shoulders, neck and abdominal muscles. Pregnancy massage is designed to relieve some of the aches and pains that are common during pregnancy. A qualified therapist will understand the areas to target and which to avoid.

Before the massage begins, your therapist will talk to you about your health and lifestyle. They will ask you to lie on a specially-designed massage table and will cover you with towels to protect your privacy and to keep you warm. They will probably use creams or oils to help them to massage your skin smoothly.

They will help you to get comfortable with pillows. Remember it is not a good idea to lie flat on your back while you are in the second half of your pregnancy since this puts too much pressure on the vein that runs from your legs to your heart.

The health benefits of pregnancy massage

There hasn’t been much research into the health benefits of pregnancy massage, but it does seem to reduce stress, relax and loosen your muscles, increase blood flow and improve the lymphatic system. It can also improve mood, lower anxiety and help you sleep better.

Pregnancy massage has also been shown to be very effective during labour to help manage pain and improve your emotional experience of labour.

Always talk to your doctor before you have a pregnancy massage, especially if:

More information

Visit healthdirect's massage therapy guide to learn about some of the different types of massage available and help you to choose a massage therapist.

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse.

Massage therapy is generally considered safe if it is done properly by a trained professional. Contact Massage & Myotherapy Australia (Australian Association of Massage Therapists) on 03 9602 7300 for more information.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

This information was originally published on healthdirect - Pregnancy massage.

Last reviewed: May 2019


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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

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This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

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