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Can I Have a Massage When I'm Pregnant?

There’s nothing better than a bit of pampering to make us feel better.

If you’re feeling particularly grim because you’re pregnant a massage might be the pick up you need. 

But is it safe? 

Yes, but there are times to avoid it. You should give massage a miss during your first trimester, it can make you feel even more pukey and dizzy. And if there’s a chance you might chuck up in the middle of it you probably don’t want to do it anyway. 

Most spas prefer not to do body massages after 32 weeks. And let’s be frank, by that stage you’ll have a baby bouncing on your bladder and a bump to contend with, not an ideal relaxing massage scenario. 

There’s a sweet spot in your second trimester, around 12-24 weeks when you’ll get the most from massage. It can soothe any aches and pains and when someone rubs you down it helps pump up your endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine levels, giving us those feel-good vibes. And that’s a great thing for your baby too. Massage can be really helpful if you’re really worried about giving birth (it has a name too, tokophobia) because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol. 

If you decide to have a massage when you’re pregnant you need to:

Tell your friendly spa person you’re pregnant and if you have any complications like gestational diabetes. They need to know as there are some essential oils that can bring on contractions or could be harmful to your baby. They’ll usually plump for a plain, scent-free oil. Even better, find someone who’s trained in pregnancy massage. 

If you choose to have a pregnancy massage in your last 12 weeks don’t lie on your back as it stops blood flow to your baby. And as you’ll have a big bump you’ll need to go on your side or half sit up. There are some specialist pregnancy tables where your bump fits but some doctors think they put too much strain on you and your baby. 

You can get comfier with pillows and towels and remember you’re in charge. There’s no science that says gently massaging your bump causes problems, but you might not want a stranger doing it. You may also find you’re more sensitive to touch than normal, especially around your pelvis where your ligaments are stretched. 

If your budget doesn’t stretch to spa days you can get someone at home to gently massage you with plain oil, it can help with swollen hands and feet and create an intimate moment (when the normal kind might not be on the cards). 

And we hate to break it to you but there’s no evidence that massage can bring on labour so if that’s your plan save some money and go for a walk instead. 

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