Pregnancy Massage: Dos and Don’ts

We would be hard pressed to find someone more in need of a massage than an expectant mother. The aches and pains can seem endless, sleeplessness plagues the nights and the extra weight wears on tired muscles.

If you have ever feared receiving a massage while pregnant, you are not alone. However, with proper precautions, massage during pregnancy is safe and brings much needed relief.


  • Do seek out a massage professional specifically trained and experienced in pregnancy massage.
  • Do use gentle moisturizers, such as coconut, olive, grapeseed or mustard oil, for the massage. Be sure to test the oil on a small patch of skin as sensitivity may increase during pregnancy.
  • Do lie on your side with supporting pillows or bolsters.
  • Do direct your massage therapist regarding pressure.
  • Do be on the lookout for swelling, pain/tenderness not related to an injury, skin that is warm to the touch and/or redness/discoloration of the skin, which can indicate a blood clot.
  • Do avoid certain pressure points in the ankles and feet that can encourage contractions.
  • Do consult a doctor prior to receiving a massage if you have a high-risk pregnancy, are at risk for miscarriage or are suffering from other conditions.


  • Don’t use a massage table that utilizes a hole for the belly. This can cause strain to uterine ligaments.
  • Don’t lay flat on your back or on your stomach.
  • Don’t receive a massage during the first trimester, unless the massage therapist is properly trained.
  • Don’t use thyme, oregano, rosemary, peppermint or sage oils, which may cause uterine contractions.
  • Don’t be afraid to allow gentle strokes on the belly, but deeper pressure should be avoided.
  • Don’t skip water.