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Getting a massage in early pregnancy sounds heavenly, as your body isn’t used to the changes yet. Soreness, fatigue, tiredness, swollen feet, and back pain are all exhausting. Although it sounds very tempting and relaxing, it still raises concerns among moms-to-be about whether it would be safe to have a massage.

A general answer would be yes. Getting a good massage during the early stages of pregnancy is safe and even beneficial. A professional massage therapist can do the work, as some places should be avoided. These can trigger a contraction and might not prove very beneficial. It is better to leave the job to a pre-natal massage therapist.

We have also recently written on foot massage during pregnancy, and should you get it?

Where should you not get a massage in your first trimester?

You should let your doctor know if you’re thinking of getting a massage during any stage of your pregnancy. Massage is considered safe during pregnancy though it is not recommended during the first trimester. Although there is little medical evidence, some therapists or practitioners hesitate or would not give massage during the first trimester as it could induce miscarriage.

Massage during the first trimester also could possibly cause unpleasant feelings such as nausea and vomiting, and you could feel dizziness as an after-effect. Since morning sickness is experienced more during the first trimester, getting a massage could possibly worsen the situation. 

Specific pressure points on the body could trigger contractions leading to miscarriage. This can prove dangerous to both mother and the child.

Beware of Medical Conditions:

Women having any medical history should consult their doctor before getting any massage in early pregnancy. Massage can increase blood flow, and pre-natal massage therapists suggest not having massage in early pregnancy under the following medical conditions.

  • Recent surgical procedures
  • Recent organ transplant
  • Pregnancy concerns high risks, such as congenital diseases or preeclampsia.
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension history of pre-term labor in past pregnancies.
  • High blood pressure uncontrolled by medication
  • Blood clots
  • Gestational diabetes

Pregnancy massages are safe during the second and third trimesters as long as there are no medical issues that may prove dangerous.

Where not to massage a pregnant woman

To get a massage, the mother should lie in a comfortable posture where the baby lies safely. When getting the massage, you should lie on the side rather than lying on the back. One can sit in a reclining position as well. Uncomfortable positions and lying on the back for long periods puts pressure on the blood vessels, restricting blood flow.

The consequent result would be decreased blood flow to the uterus. There are specific acupressure points on the body that are said to trigger contractions and induce labor though this has very little medical evidence. The possibility of a miscarriage during the first trimester still lies. The pressure points that bring about these adverse effects should be avoided to carry out a safe massage procedure.

The belly:

Rubbing some stretch mark cream smoothly over the belly should be okay, but you should avoid massaging your belly or the area around it as it could hurt you or the baby. As mentioned before, it could worsen nausea during early pregnancy.

Your legs:

Massage with strong pressure on the feet shall be avoided. During pregnancy, blood volume increases, and blood flow can be decreased to the lower region, which can possibly result in the formation of clots. When massaged, the blood flow can increase and may dislodge a clot from the region, which can prove dangerous or even fatal to both mother and the child.

Pressure points:

An acupressurist should do the job as they know well about the acupressure points in the body. Some acupressure points should be avoided as it is said to trigger contractions and induces labor. Although there is little or no medical evidence to prove the theory, the possibility still lies and should be avoided as a precautionary measure.

Pregnancy massage benefits

Although there are some risks if precautionary measures are taken into account, pregnancy massage has more health benefits. Massage should be avoided in the first trimester. However, it has many positive effects during the second and third trimesters for both the mother and the baby.

A good massage therapist won’t take notice of your body, whether you have gained weight or shaved your legs. Their concern is their job and to provide service that would allow your body to relax rather than create a tense environment.

Regular massage can produce the following results:

  • Reduces muscle tension in the body
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improve blood flow
  • Improve muscle oxygenation
  • Reduces pain such as that in joints and back
  • Improves edema
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Induces the “good feeling” hormones, namely, dopamine and serotonin
  • Overall improved mood.

There was not much medical evidence but some studies show the above results to massage during pregnancy. A well-trained therapist would carry out the procedure smoothly, and the benefits can be experienced.

Can I have a back massage in early pregnancy?

As we explained above, back massage in early pregnancy is usually safe. But you need to keep in mind that if you can avoid it in the first trimester, it would be better. While massage is an excellent way to decrease muscle tension and discomfort associated with pregnancy, always inform the massage therapist about your pregnancy so that they can take extra care.

Always choose a professional and licensed massage therapist. You mustn’t lie on your tummy during the massage. Lie down either on your side or in a semi-reclined position to void putting stress on your uterus.

Always consult your doctor and get their go-ahead before receiving any massage at any stage of pregnancy.

Can I get a massage during the two-week wait?

Generally, massage is safe during the two-week wait time between ovulation and your expected date for the next period. However, if you are looking to get pregnant, you need to be extra careful and take certain precautions into account. First and foremost, always find a licensed/certified therapist for pre-natal massage.

Another precaution you could take is avoiding the table warmer. It would be best to avoid belly or deep tissue massage altogether. It would also be better to avoid essential oils.

If you are pregnant during this two-week wait, you should always let your therapist know. Many of them do not agree to massage during the first trimester.

Massage has many mental and physiological benefits and can be helpful during pregnancy, mainly because it increases blood circulation and decreases stress hormones. But pregnancy is a delicate business, and you might want to avoid it during the two-week wait time based on your situation.

Though it is entirely safe, always consult your doctor before getting any massage in early pregnancy.

The Takeaway:

It is better to consult your doctor before getting any massage, whether it is from your partner or the therapist. Especially if you have a medical history such as clotting, you must consult your doctor.

Getting a massage in the early stages of pregnancy, precisely the first trimester, should be avoided as it could have some such cases, seek professional advice. Pregnancy is exhausting, and during the first trimester, it can be tiring as the body is getting used to the changes. That is also the time period where maximum changes occur in the fetus.

It is better to leave the job for a professional such as a massage therapist or a pre-natal massage therapist who is well aware of the procedure. During the first trimester, there are many concerns, and therapists may refuse to provide services. The later stages, however, come with benefits, so you should know when to go for a massage.

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