Is massage therapy safe during pregnancy?

Dr Sarah Fogarty
by Dr Sarah Fogarty

When expecting a child, ensuring the safety of both the mother and the unborn baby is of utmost importance. While physical safety is typically the primary concern, emotional safety is also a crucial factor to consider. This is especially true when it comes to receiving massages during pregnancy, as many women may wonder whether it is safe for both themselves and their baby.

In this article, we’ll discuss the safety of massage therapy during pregnancy and answer some frequently asked questions.


1) Can I have a massage during my pregnancy?

Most of the time the answer to this question is yes. There are some exceptions as to who can receive pregnancy massage safely, but overall, massage can be received at any stage of the pregnancy, even past your due date.

However, it is important to go to a qualified and experienced pregnancy massage therapist who understands the physiological changes that occur in the body during pregnancy and they can recognise any potential risk factors or signs and symptoms that may occur.

While the majority of mother’s have no risk factors, you want to know that the therapist has the skills to recognise these if they present.


But what about massage during my first trimester?

You may have heard that you shouldn’t get a massage in the first trimester. A recent published paper has shown that the most common fears and concerns about massage in the first trimester are not physiologically possible. It also highlighted that the body is amazing and has mechanisms that protect the unborn baby in general but specifically from concerns raised about massage and exercise in the first trimester.


2) Should I avoid getting certain areas of the body massaged during pregnancy?

In short, no, you don’t need to avoid getting certain areas of the body massaged during pregnancy.

Any pregnancy massage should be individually tailored to your needs on the day. This includes getting consent for the treatment, and for the areas being massaged. If there is an area of the body you don’t feel comfortable being treated, then you should discus this with your therapist.


3) What about emotional safety?

Most of us receive specialised services for our other pregnancy-related healthcare needs, and pregnancy massage is no different. An experienced and qualified pregnancy massage therapist should take the time to find out your needs, know what the right questions are to ask you, consider your unique journey, understand how to care for your changing body and your baby, and take all of those things into consideration when working with you.

Emotional safety includes building a good therapeutic relationship with you, having good communications skills, listening to you, and providing a safe space to share your journey, hopes and concerns without judgement.

A therapist with a client-centred approach will provide all of the above when working with you, and determine the best treatment for you.

After all, Massage during pregnancy can provide time out, reduce pain and tension during pregnancy and help reduce or manage the stress having a baby.


In summary, take time to source a pregnancy massage therapist that is experienced and has a treatment approach that matches your ethos.


Dr Sarah Fogarty specialises in massage therapy before, and after pregnancy, and works out of our sister clinic – Uplift Women’s Health Collective

Learn more about the benefits of massage during pregnancy from the Uplift Women’s Health Collective website, HERE