Our Blog

Mythbusting: Massage During Pregnancy

You’re pregnant? Congratulations!

Everyone you meet is lining up to tell you how amazing this time of your life is. And guess what? They’re right. It is an incredible time. And you may not realise it but you’re a warrior woman. Growing a human being? That’s some next level awesomeness right there.

But guess what else you are? You’re sore. You’re swollen. You’re tired. You’re nauseas. Or you might be none of those things. Or some. Or something else entirely. Because every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different. Do you know what else? You deserve to be looked after and that’s where a massage comes in.

Before you jump straight in and book with any old (or young) therapist – a note of caution though – make sure you book with a massage therapist who (first of all) is qualified to give massage, but importantly one who is specially trained in pregnancy massage.

We have invested in specialist training so that we know warning signs to look for, issues that you may have that we need to be aware of, and also how to best look after common pregnancy issues. We also tend to be pretty well connected with other health professionals, so if you do need a bit of extra help we can point you in the direction of someone we know is actually pretty good (goodbye yellow pages roulette).

Well, there are plenty of myths out there about massage and pregnancy, so let’s set a couple of things straight.

Myth One: Massage causes miscarriage

NOPE. Absolutely false. There is absolutely no research linking massage and miscarriage. Just like exercising, going to work, or any other normal parts of life don’t cause miscarriage, neither does having a massage. You can still be active throughout pregnancy for as long as you are comfortable and capable, and you ABSOLUTELY can enjoy massage. This myth persists because miscarriage is still a largely unknown quantity. No one wants to be associated with miscarriage – yes its fear that led to this myth.  But as medical science learns more about miscarriage and the causes, the more we are certain that massage will not cause it.

On a sensitive note – if you are one of the many women who experiences miscarriage – know that this can be a pretty tough time for you and your partner – and this can place additional strain on a relationship too. You can talk to each other about how you feel. You can talk with us (yep we’ve been there too). And we can also refer you to a grief and loss counsellor for additional support. Miscarriage is pretty common. We don’t understand why it is such a taboo topic.  And you deserve the best possible support.

Myth Two: You shouldn’t have a massage in the first trimester

Again, FALSE! This is linked to the fear of miscarriage.  If things are likely to go wrong during a pregnancy – it’s usually in the first trimester.  Complications of pregnancy drop to less than 0.5% by the end of the first trimester. However, as we’ve already mentioned, miscarriage and massage have nothing to do with each other. In fact, many women have massage before they even know they are pregnant, and it’s perfectly safe.

So, go ahead and have that massage early. Having a massage at this stage actually helps to reduce your stress and anxiety, alleviate nausea (hello morning sickness), moderate pain in the hips, back and shoulders (thank you breasts), improve sleep, and help you to connect with your little human. Talk to us about how you’re feeling – and if you are feeling a bit off colour, we’ll help you to rest in a position that is comfortable for you.

Myth Three: Massage can induce labour

Hate to be predictable, but again, not true. There are some acupressure points in the ankles that historically some people in some cultures believe could possibly bring on contractions; however, studies have shown that even acupuncture on women who are past their due date, contractions and labour do not occur.  If you are past your due date – massage can help your body to prepare for labour – and we’ve certainly witness women go into labour in the evening following their massage – just don’t ask us to induce labour … it doesn’t work that way.

Myth Four: You shouldn’t have your abdomen massaged

*sigh* Wrong. Again, most likely due to a fear of bring on labour, this one does the rounds too. But how often in a day to you rub your belly? Or your partner? (Or strangers, but that’s just wrong and you have my permission to freak them out by pretending they made you go into labour. Oh yes, I am evil.) Sometimes your little human will react to having a massage, give a little kick or swish, but most times they’ve been well lulled to sleep. Of course, if you don’t want your massage therapist to touch your belly, that’s perfectly fine, just tell them. We understand.

BTW, that goes for everywhere else on your body – don’t like your feet touched? Just let us know. We won’t go there. It’s your body, your massage, your time. We want you to be comfortable and relaxed, which can’t happen if we’re touching areas of your body that put you on edge.

Myth Five: Men can’t do a pregnancy massage

Again. Nope. Wrong. While many women may feel more comfortable getting a pregnancy massage from a woman, men who have undertaken the training are just as good. You might feel that because he’s never been pregnant, he can’t understand but would you feel the same about a woman who had never been pregnant? Or never been in labour? If a man has invested the time and money into the specialised training, then you can trust that he’s a caring and nurturing individual. You’ll probably find he’s a dad and has supported his partner through pregnancy.  Win win.

So why get a massage when you’re pregnant?

Because your warrior body needs looking after. Your little human is growing and making new parts, and your body is working overtime to facilitate that. Studies have shown that pregnancy massage:

  • enhances blood flow, allowing all that extra blood in your system to move more freely;
  • reduces stress hormones, giving your brain and your body a break from being a warrior;
  • improves your mood, giving those around you a break from you being a warrior;
  • supports better sleep, giving your body a chance to recuperate from all that extra work;
  • boosts your lymphatic system, which helps to reduce swelling and aching, particularly in the ankles.

So go on, take a break, look after yourself, and book that massage.  You’re going to need it … and much more … you deserve it.

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in Hope Valley in the north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.