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Prenatal massage

Body changes during pregnancy require a specialized massage, called a prenatal or pregnancy massage.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: December 22, 2015

Pregnancy can lead to muscle cramps, back pain, and swollen limbs. The pregnancy massage, or prenatal massage, can alleviate many of the common complaints a woman may have during pregnancy. It can lessen muscle spasms, soothe leg aches and pains, as well as reduce stress and increase circulation.

The origins of prenatal massage: Pregnancy massage has been used to alleviate the strains of pregnancy for millenia.

Benefits Of Prenatal Massage

Pregnancy can cause specific medical conditions, including hormonal shifts, fluid retention, nerve pain, muscle strain and stress. The prenatal massage is designed to treat all these conditions.

What To Expect

The body will be supported either by a special table or by pillows. Typically, the woman lies on her side, which is a more comfortable position. Massage therapist will use light, long strokes, especialy on the lower half of the body.

Specialized equipment: Prenatal massage therapists should have a special side-lying table available for comfort. Pillows and bolsters should also be available to allow the client to turn in a supported manner.

Tables with a large opening for the belly are considered outmoded because they allow the stomach to dangle unsupported, causing stretching of skin and ligaments and subsequent discomfort. Look for a table that allows you to lie on your side.

Recommended sessions: As many sessions as are needed for relief from pregnancy-related discomfort. Working with the same therapist over time allows the massage therapist to adjust to the changing body.

Preparation: Some massage therapists will require that you have a signed doctor's note before starting massage therapy, especially if you are carrying multiple babies.

Let the therapist know if you have a history of early contractions. The therapist will then avoid certain pressure points on the ankles and wrists that can stimulate the pelvis. If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, make sure to inform your massage therapist that you are pregnant.


While prenatal massage does not cause miscarriage, women with a history of early contractions should inform their therapist.

Other potential contraindictions include hypertension, pre-eclampsia and other high risk pregnancy factors. Do not lie on your back, which can reduce blood flow to the placenta.

Find licensed and certified experts who offer prenatal massage near you