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Is it safe to get a massage during pregnancy?

Massage can be a powerful treatment to get while you are pregnant — full of stress-reliving, emotional and physical benefits! But like most things in pregnancy, there is a lot of confusion about what is actually safe during pregnancy. Here is the quick breakdown on the most common concerns and the modifications we make during for pregnant clients.

Which massage techniques are safe during pregnancy?

Most massage techniques continue to be safe throughout pregnancy. This includes Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Thai massage, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and even trigger point therapy and acupressure. For a healthy woman experiencing a normally progressing pregnancy, a massage therapist will make smart modifications to the level of pressure, how the massage is performed and the positioning on the table.

One of the more common questions we get: Is deep tissue massage safe during pregnancy? The answer is yes! Obviously, it’s gotta be “smart” deep tissue massage. A pregnancy massage with deep tissue is always responsive, smart and respectful of the changes happening to mom’s body. It always respects the modifications we would make in any and every prenatal massage, regardless of whether a client requests deep tissue massage.

Here at Equilibrio, we use a special health history form to help identify any issues in the pregnancy that we need to modify our massage around and aim to always customize each massage for any changes happening in a woman’s body.

What positions are safe during a pregnancy massage?

One of the major considerations for a safe pregnancy massage is position on the table. This changes as the pregnancy progresses. From about week 12 (i.e., after first trimester), most prenatal massages happen in a side-lying position on the massage table. It is critical that the pregnant woman feel comfortable during the massage. An experienced massage therapist will have the equipment and training to use pillows to support the body strategically. This could range from standard bed pillows to specialized contoured professional pillows.

side lying pregnancy massage safety

High tech prenatal massage pillows that support a woman’s entire body — safe and comfy

Pregnancy massage therapists will use the right pillows and have enough experience to make you profoundly comfortable. This is a big deal as discomfort when sleeping is a major concern for pregnant women. In fact, clients frequently site our pillows in our reviews:

  • “This was my first time with all of the pillows. I was more comfortable than I have even been during a massage, pregnancy or not.”
  • “I have never felt so comfortable lying on my side with all the pillows.”
    Semi Seated massage position with pillows is another safe option

    Safe reclined position for pregnancy massage

  • “They will set you up with special pillows, you literally will have a floating on a cloud experience.”
  • “My therapist had a pillow to support every inch of my body…they really took the time to think about a pregnant body and how to maximize my comfort and therefore my enjoyment of my massage experience.”

Another favorite position for pregnancy massage is a semi-seated position (imagine lying back in a recliner) with the mom-to-be propped up strategically on pillows. This position is a great break for women struggling with heartburn or shortness of breath.

Is it safe to go face down during pregnancy massage?

Most experts in the field agree that after first trimester, pregnancy massage is most safely delivered in a side-lying position and face down is not recommended.

is this a safe pregnancy massage table?

Experts question whether these special tables are safe for pregnancy massage

A lot of women are looking for relief and hope they can lie face down during their massage — sleeping on their side at home is driven them crazy! There are options out there for a face down prenatal massage. As the demand for pregnancy massage has increased over the past few decades, various products have come on the market aiming to make delivering that massage simpler. There are now special tables you can purchase that have special cut-out sections for a pregnant belly and breasts. This sounds like a dream come true to many pregnant women who have been struggling to sleep on their side. In fact, this is often one of the first questions prospective clients ask when they call: “Do you have a special table so I can lie face down?”

Well, no, we don’t. In fact, experts in the field caution against using these tables and recommend other positions for pregnant clients.  No matter how well these tables try to support the belly, they still put women into potentially compromised position. We cover this more in depth here:

Do you have more questions? Please be in touch!