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Deep Tissue Massage During Pregnancy

Deep Tissue Massage During Pregnancy

Can you get massages while pregnant? There are several reasons you may want to get a massage during pregnancy. However, many women aren’t sure if prenatal massage carries risks for the baby. With someone who has undergone the right training, massage for pregnancy has several therapeutic benefits.

Many changes occur in your body as you create a new life, and new emotions and physical experiences are bound to leave you feeling a bit imbalanced. Prenatal massage can alleviate soreness and can even help level out some emotions potentially brought on by increased hormonal activity, among other causes.

Generally, it’s safe to get a deep tissue massage during pregnancy. However, there are many important considerations and exceptions. Also, it’s essential to discuss your massage plans with your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby. If your doctor says it’s safe to get a massage, then the next step is getting the right massage therapist. Keep reading for a complete guide on how to enjoy a pregnancy massage to the fullest, including the addition of soothing Cradle & Tonic aromatherapy body oil.

massage oil

What Is Deep Tissue Massage and Why You Should Do It?

Deep tissue massage during pregnancy may require modifications to the strong pressure and long strokes used in traditional massage methods. In some cases, a massage can leave you sore for a day or two following your session.

Massage therapists use pressure points to release tension, particularly in areas that you choose to focus on during your appointment. For example, if you have leg pain, your therapist may focus on that area of the body while lower back pain requires a different technique.

To get settled in and relaxed, you can light a Cradle & Tonic pregnancy candle designed to alleviate morning sickness, insomnia and fatigue. Breathing in the lavender and lemon scent can put you in a positive mindset to fully relax and absorb all the benefits of a nurturing massage while pregnant.

Types of Bodywork

As a pregnant person, you have unique needs when it comes to the type of bodywork performed. These needs include achieving a balance between the physical, hormonal and emotional changes going on in your body.

There are several types of massage, including Shiatsu, deep tissue and Swedish varieties. A prenatal massage often uses Swedish techniques that can relax your body. The different types of strokes, which may be modified depending on which trimester you’re in, include the following:

  • Effleurage (light stroking movements)
  • Friction (small circular movements)
  • Vibration (shaking and rocking movements)
  • Tapotement (percussion)

Can pregnant women get massages using all these strokes? To leave you feeling confident about enjoying your massage, ask your massage therapist to describe the type of strokes they will use when you book the appointment. You can then discuss these with your doctor, who may have some suggestions to ensure your health and safety.

An effective pregnancy massage caters to your specific needs. Your massage therapist will take special care to ensure that you have the physical support needed for maximum comfort. Therefore, you might not lay in a traditional massage position. For example, side positions are often more comfortable during the late second trimester and throughout the third trimester.

In general, your massage may last between 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, you can request that the therapist play your favourite soothing music. You can also gift yourself with a candle set including specially formulated candles for pregnancy and motherhood. (Then, continue using the candles during your mummy spa days when you need a break from your beautiful baby!)

pregnancy massage

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Pregnant massage therapy can improve your muscle tone and increase the circulation of your blood and lymphatic system. Pregnancy often brings various aches and pains as your body adjusts to the new life growing inside you. Therefore, a relaxing massage can alleviate the mental and physical fatigue that may begin to weigh you down.

Some benefits of deep tissue prenatal massage include the following:

  • Sense of well-being
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increase in oxygenation to your muscles
  • Hormone regulation
  • Pain relief
  • Reduction in depression, anxiety and stress

Let’s take a closer look at some benefits of massage during pregnancy.

Lowers Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

Massage therapy often leaves you with a deep sense of relaxation and well-being. This can give you a feeling of calm that alleviates depression and anxiety. Studies indicate that frequent massage therapy may alleviate depressive episodes, although more research is needed to understand how this works.

Contributes to a Better Night’s Sleep

When you receive prenatal massages, it can relieve sore muscles that have become tender and difficult to lay on. With more relaxed muscles, you may find it easier to get to sleep and remain asleep all night. You can also burn our aromatherapy candles, specifically designed to help mums-to-be relax.

Massage therapy may increase your serotonin levels. This hormone can alleviate pain and helps your body produce more melatonin, which is needed for sleep regulation. Pregnant women need all the rest they can get. It's during sleep that your body rebuilds, heals and grows. So, there's a lot of things going on as you sleep. Food digestion, muscle regeneration and recovery from everyday wear and tear all happen after you close your eyes at night.

If you need to get more quality sleep, a prenatal massage can help you accomplish this. We also recommend using relaxing products such as an all-natural shower and bath gel for pregnant women.

Stimulates the Release of Endorphins, Which Inhibit Pain Signals to the Brain

Endorphins are your body’s natural stress busters. When you get a massage while pregnant, endorphins can help level out other hormones that may leave you feeling anxious, depressed or emotional.

Risks of Deep Tissue Massage

Despite the benefits of massage during pregnancy, it's important to understand the risks involved with deep tissue massage while you carry a child. There are definitely cases where your physician will advise against pregnancy massage in certain areas of the body.

Pregnancy Massage Contraindications

Contraindications describe situations in which specific treatment can cause harm. If you have any of the following conditions, it's best to avoid getting a massage during your pregnancy:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Taking blood thinners
  • Healing skin from burns or wounds
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet level)
  • Blood clots
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain medications
  • High blood pressure
  • Recent surgery

Pregnancy massage is a particular concern if you have certain conditions. For example, if you have a high-risk pregnancy that includes pre-term contractions, bleeding or preeclampsia, getting a massage may have to wait until after the baby is born. Some women develop preeclampsia around the twentieth week of pregnancy. This condition involves a dramatic increase in blood pressure that can leave you vulnerable to a stroke.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) describes swollen legs due to a blood clot. Once your deep vein thrombosis clears, you might benefit from prenatal massages once again. Gestational diabetes and certain conditions of the placenta can also cause complications that make it inadvisable to receive massages during pregnancy.

Lingering Pain

Many women wonder whether deep tissue massages while pregnant may cause lingering pain. While it's normal to have some soreness or tightness following a massage, your massage therapist will probably modify many of the strokes and movements. However, by nature, massages force blood into muscles and other tissues. This removes toxins and floods the treated area with nutrients.

If you do feel sore after a massage, it should feel better within one or two days. If you experience lingering pain or pain that gets worse following a massage, visit a medical professional immediately.

Avoid Certain Areas for Massage

There are some pressure points to avoid during pregnancy. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are numerous reasons to get a massage during pregnancy. Prenatal massages can alleviate pain, swelling and tension. However, it's important to note that there are certain areas of the body that your massage therapist should avoid.

Pressure points to avoid include:

  • Anywhere along the pelvis
  • Leg deep tissue massage
  • Pressure points along the hands, wrists and ankles

Avoiding these areas can help you safeguard the safety of your baby and avoid blood clots and other health risks.

The First Trimester

Many experts caution against getting a massage in early pregnancy. During the first trimester, you face a greater risk of a miscarriage or injury to the fetus. Many massage therapists and medical practitioners have concerns about massages received during the first trimester. During a massage, the therapist encourages blood flow. Under the wrong circumstances, this could increase your chance of miscarrying.

There have not been enough research studies to back up the safety of massage therapy during the first trimester. Therefore, you need to talk to your OB/GYN before getting a pregnancy massage in the early stages of your pregnancy.

Blood Clots

Pregnancy massage experts go through many hours of training to adjust their techniques. These adjustments take into account how a woman's body changes throughout the pregnancy. Did you know that your blood volume increases by up to 50% while you're carrying a baby? Similarly, blood flow to the extremities can slow down.

Your blood has natural anticoagulants that increase to prevent catastrophic loss during childbirth. Under these circumstances, strong pressure can displace blood clots. Additionally, pregnant women are often at a greater risk of blood clots in the inner thigh, calves and other portions of the leg.

While performing pregnancy massages, your therapist will avoid any strong pressure on areas prone to blood clots. Instead, they will use slow, light strokes to relax the muscles without applying acupressure, percussive tapping, friction or deep tissue techniques.

If you receive a massage in the abdominal area, it's important for your therapist to use extremely light strokes. Most therapists trained in massage during pregnancy techniques avoid the abdomen. Alternately, they may use light, modified strokes to gently relax the muscles.

To alleviate some of the discomfort associated with pregnancy, you can also try Cradle & Tonic multipurpose balm. This product soothes sore nipples, cuticles and lips. You can also use it for all your dry skin needs. Natural ingredients include cocoa and shea butter as well as coconut and olive oil.

Choosing a Massage Therapist

Although the length and content of courses for prenatal massage vary, most therapists go through about 500 hours of education. During this training, these specialists go through a series of workshops and classes that help them understand how to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy without doing any harm.

Many women find their massage therapists through a national association or as a result of a recommendation from a friend. The National Association of Massage & Manipulative Therapists is also a great source of referrals. Some women ask their chiropractor, midwife or doctor for recommendations for a qualified therapist specializing in massage during pregnancy.

Besides incorporating your favourite Cradle & Tonic products into your pregnancy massage, there are many other tips that can help you relax and enjoy the experience fully.

Try to relax without feeling self-conscious. The more you let go of any negative feelings, the calmer you'll become. Remember that this is your time to relax and let go of aches and pains throughout your body. To do so, you'll need to feel comfortable exposing your body. Choosing a therapist who commits to creating a safe space helps you feel more at ease.

In order to stay hydrated throughout the session, drink plenty of water an hour or two beforehand. This will allow you to stay hydrated without having to interrupt your massage with a bathroom break. Drinking more water after your massage can help flush away toxins released by your therapist's magical fingers.


Can you get a massage while pregnant? As we have seen, many women can benefit from massage for pregnancy during the second and third trimesters. However, it's advisable to speak with your physician prior to scheduling a massage during the first trimester of your pregnancy.

Prenatal massage benefits include a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression. When massage therapists modify their techniques with the body of a pregnant woman in mind, a massage during pregnancy can also improve sleeping habits, muscle soreness and general well-being.

You can also have your massage therapist incorporate familiar items. We recommend Cradle & Tonic body oil and candles designed for pregnant women.