Is Pregnancy (Prenatal) Massage Safe?

Get a massage while you are pregnant


5/20/20233 min read

Hi Therapy Now Community,

If you are pregnant, we just want to say "Congratulations!"

If you are pregnant, you might be wondering if pregnancy massage (also known as prenatal massage) is safe. As pregnancies progress, mothers will experience significant changes to their bodies. As a result of the baby's growth, expectant mothers will not only gain weight but also notice many other adjustments. Given the current circumstances, pregnant mothers might be looking for ways to combat discomfort without resorting to medicines. To address this need, it's important to identify alternative treatments that are safe and effective.

Yes, pregnancy massage is safe, given that you see a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). Registered Massage Therapy in British Columbia is part of the regulated health profession and accredited by the College of Massage Therapy of British Columbia. To reach this status, therapists must take pregnancy massage as part of their curriculum and successfully pass a licensing exam in the province.

Massage during pregnancy can help relieve discomfort that occurs during trimesters of pregnancy. Pregnant women often experience back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and headaches, and massage can help to relieve these discomforts. Massage can also help to improve circulation and reduce stress.

Which Massage Pregnancy Positions are safe?

This all depends on which trimester you are in.

There are 3 positions a pregnant woman could be in on the massage table.

  • Face up

  • Face down

  • Side-line

Is it safe for me to have a massage while lying facing down while I am pregnant?

If you are in your 1st trimester, you can lie face down. During this stage, the uterus protects the fetus well, and there is no reason to avoid sleeping on the stomach during the first trimester.

In the 2nd trimester, as long as you are working with a Registered Massage Therapist and have a specialized massage pillow which completely elevates/supports your belly in most cases you will be safe. At Therapy Now Wellness clinic we have a two-part massage pillowing system called the BodyCushion that is specifically contoured to fit around your entire belly. The bottom pillow contours around your hips/pelvis and lower belly, this completely supports delicate ligaments and sensitive areas. The top pillow is carved out to support tender breasts and contoured around the top of the belly completely elevating it from the table. Both of these pillows work together to support the mama to be on the Massage table. The beauty of having two separate pillows is that they can be moved closer together/apart to accommodate the size of the belly. The main thing to note is that the belly never touches the table, it is cradled in between the pillows creating a safe nest to support your baby.

As you enter your 3rd trimester of pregnancy, you may find that your belly grows quickly and can make it difficult to lie on your back. As soon as your belly touches the massage table while in the pregnancy pillow, it is recommended that you do not lie face down.

Is it safe for me to have a massage while lying on my back while I am pregnant?

While in the first trimester, you can lie on your back.

In the second trimester, as long as you are comfortable you can lie on your back.

During your third trimester, Experts suggest not lying flat on your back. This position compresses the vena cava and reduces blood flow and oxygen delivery to the fetus. Back sleeping may also contribute to sleep-related breathing difficulties for the mother. Another alternative though could be a semi-fowlers position which props the head and torso to between 15 and 45 degrees.

Is it safe for me to lie on my side while I am pregnant?

During all trimesters it is considered safe to have massage while lying on your side on your side.

As a woman reaches the second and third trimesters, sleeping on the left side is generally considered to be the safest and most comfortable option. However, you it is okay to be on the right side for short periods of time while being massaged.

At Therapy Now Wellness Clinic, we have had the delight of treating many women until their pregnancy delivery date. We have helped relieve and reduce sciatica symptoms, headaches, hip pain, swelling, etc.

If you're looking for a massage specifically tailored to pregnant women, please feel free to reach out to us and book an appointment.