The problem with massages in early pregnancy
- Experience excessive nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Are at high risk of miscarriage.
- Have a high-risk pregnancy.
- Have high blood pressure.
- Experience any sudden swelling or breathing problems.
- Have any other pregnancy concerns.
Your safest option for massage
Take notice of the position your massage therapist suggests as you lay down. Depending on how pregnant you are, different positions will be safer and more comfortable. Lying on your side with a pillow to support your belly is usually the preferred and safest option. However, in early pregnancy—before 22 weeks—it's generally safe for pregnant mothers to lie on their back.
After 22 weeks, you should avoid lying flat on your back. This is because the weight of your belly and growing baby is likely to put pressure on your blood vessels and restrict the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby. Because blood volume will almost double during pregnancy, it's also best to avoid getting a deep tissue massage or any other type of strong massage. These techniques could affect your circulation and blood pressure and may put you and your baby at risk.
If you feel uncomfortable or experience any pain during a massage, politely ask your therapist to focus on another area or stop altogether. Every pregnancy is unique and the best way to know if something is good for you and your baby is to listen to your body.
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.