What Is Pregnancy Massage?


Pregnancy is a very special time, but in our often fast-paced, busy lives it can sometimes feel less than magical. From fatigue, aches and pains, to anxiety and stress, various discomforts and complaints may be experienced.

In addition our bodies are changing fast and adapting to this can be difficult, not just on a practical front, but also an emotional - how do we feel about these changes? Added to potential anxiety about the changes in our life to come, pregnancy can be a worrying time.

So what can I do to help support you?

As a mum of six who has really struggled through some of my pregnancies (and postnatally) a key focus for me, as a complementary therapist, is supporting women through their pregnancy journeys (and beyond).


I offer specialist pregnancy massage (and reflexology) that can support you with:

  • Reducing tension, stress and anxiety.

  • Time and space to relax, reducing fatigue and tiredness.

  • Easing discomfort caused by the additional strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons.

  • Improving your circulation, enhancing blood flow to your womb and entire body.

  • Improving lymph flow helping to disperse fluid retention and soothe tired, swollen legs.

  • Supporting your skin, bringing welcome additional nourishment and pliability through carefully chosen oils and gentle manipulation, plus the boost in circulation.

  • Has been shown to be beneficial for baby too.

  • Helps to prepare your mind and body for birthing and beyond!


"Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain."

[Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynaecology 5 (2), 177-181.]

Carrying a baby (or more!) leads to an increased weight load on your body, placing all kinds of strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Massage is probably best known for being able to help ease the tightness, helping to reduce levels of pain and discomfort.


In addition, massage helps to increase dopamine and serotonin, and lower cortisol and norepinephrine levels. This helps to reduce tension that can lead to headaches; tiredness and fatigue; stress and anxiety. Massage is a fantastic means of relaxing the body and mind.


Pregnancy also places an additional demand on your circulatory system, leading to swelling and general 'sluggishness'. Massage, particularly Manual Lymphatic Drainage, is particularly helpful at reducing swelling and helping improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients around the body.


Further more, it supports your skin as it is called to stretch and is affected by changing levels of hormones. It helps to bring welcome additional nourishment and pliability through carefully chosen oils and gentle manipulation, plus through the boost in circulation. As a qualified aromatherapist and Weleda Wellbeing Advisor I'm well placed to offer you advice on caring for your skin!


Pregnancy massage can be beneficial for baby too! As they grow, babies can feel gentle abdominal massage and may respond with a kick (or more!). Plus, studies have also shown that unborn babies are also affected by any stress that their mother is experiencing, so a relaxed mum equals relaxed baby.


"Postpartum depression and cortisol levels were decreased in the massaged women. The newborns of the massaged mothers also had lower cortisol levels than the newborns of the control mothers, and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales."

[Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage. Expert review of obstetrics & gynecology. 5 (2), 177-181]

What Happens during Pregnancy Massage


Massage usually take place in the second and third trimesters (however, I can offer reflexology in the first trimester). You will need to check with your midwife first as to whether she's happy for you to proceed and if you are under consultant care a note of medical consent will be required before treatment can take place.


A comprehensive consultation will take place to assess your needs and ensure that the planned treatment is suitable for you.

Pregnancy massage usually takes place with you lying on your side, comfortably bolstered with cushions under your head, bump and between your knees as needed. You will be made as comfortable as possible. If you struggle with your mobility, please get in touch as I can look at ways to support you with receiving a treatment if you need additional consideration and find getting onto a massage table challenging (pelvic girdle pain being a potential factor), for example, seated and floor-based massage.


When looking for a massage therapist, please check that they are trained to at least Level 3 standard (eg VTCT or ITEC level 3 diploma), with additional training in pregnancy massage (as there are various additional considerations that the therapist needs to be aware of). In addition, some form of professional membership is a further sign that the therapist is commited to providing a high level of service and improving upon their knowledge.


As well as being a trained massage therapist (included on the FHT Accredited Register), I'm trained in pregnancy massage (plus labour and postnatal massage and reflexology) and am currently studying a Level 4 (covering advanced massage therapy, reflexology and aromatherapy).


Would you like to find out more about our Pregnancy Wellbeing support?


Further articles on massage and reflexology for pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period are planned. In the meantime, if you would like to ask any questions or chat about how complementary therapies can support you at this time, you can book a FREE wellbeing consultation over phone or online.

Research Links
  • Cataldo Oportus, S., de Paiva Rodrigues, L., Pereira de Godoy, J. M., & Guerreiro Godoy, M. (2013). Lymph drainage in pregnant women.Nursing research and practice,2013, 364582. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/364582

  • Field T. (2010). Pregnancy and labor massage.Expert review of obstetrics & gynecology,5(2), 177–181. https://doi.org/10.1586/eog.10.12

  • Field, T., Diego, M., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2010). Prenatal depression effects and interventions: a review.Infant behavior & development,33(4), 409–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2010.04.005

  • Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Medina, L., Delgado, J., & Hernandez, A. (2012). Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity.Journal of bodywork and movement therapies,16(2), 204–209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.08.002

  • Haseli, A., Ghiasi, A., & Hashemzadeh, M. (2019). Do Breathing Techniques Enhance the Effect of Massage Therapy in Reducing the Length of Labor or not? a Randomized Clinical Trial.Journal of caring sciences,8(4), 257–263. https://doi.org/10.15171/jcs.2019.036

  • Janssen, P., Shroff, F., & Jaspar, P. (2012). Massage therapy and labor outcomes: a randomized controlled trial.International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork,5(4), 15–20. https://doi.org/10.3822/ijtmb.v5i4.164

  • Jones, L., Othman, M., Dowswell, T., Alfirevic, Z., Gates, S., Newburn, M., Jordan, S., Lavender, T., & Neilson, J. P. (2012). Pain management for women in labour: an overview of systematic reviews.The Cochrane database of systematic reviews,2012(3), CD009234. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD009234.pub2

  • Navaee, M., & Rakhshkhorshid, M. (2020). Comparing the Effect of Foot Massage with Grape Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil on Physiological Leg Edema in Primigravidae: A Randomized Clinical Trial.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2020, 6835814. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/6835814

  • Nillni, Y. I., Mehralizade, A., Mayer, L., & Milanovic, S. (2018). Treatment of depression, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders during the perinatal period: A systematic review.Clinical psychology review,66, 136–148. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2018.06.004

  • Oswald, C., Higgins, C. C., & Assimakopoulos, D. (2013). Optimizing pain relief during pregnancy using manual therapy.Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien,59(8), 841–842. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743693/

  • Previti, G., Pawlby, S., Chowdhury, S., Aguglia, E., & Pariante, C. M. (2014). Neurodevelopmental outcome for offspring of women treated for antenatal depression: a systematic review.Archives of women's mental health,17(6), 471–483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-014-0457-0

  • Sriasih, N., Hadi, M. C., Suindri, N. N., Surati, G. A., & Mahayati, N. (2019). The Effect of Massage Therapy Using Frangipani Aromatherapy Oil to Reduce the Childbirth Pain Intensity.International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork,12(2), 18–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542573/

  • Thomas R. B. (2019). A Pilot Study of Partner Chair Massage Effects on Perinatal Mood, Anxiety, and Pain.International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork,12(2), 3–11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542572/

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*Disclaimer: Information on Doncaster Wellbeing is correct to the best of our knowledge. However, we cannot take any responsibility for any accidental error – we're human! If you find an error, please do contact us and we’ll do our best to rectify it.  If you are vegan, or have any particular allergy, please take care to always double check ingredients.  Please note: times quoted include consultation time.  Massage therapy, Reflexology and Aromatherapy are classed as a “complementary therapies” meaning that they are used alongside (as a complement to) conventional medicine. Complementary therapists cannot make diagnoses (unless also medically qualified to do so – ie they are a GP, or similar). In addition complementary therapy should not be used as an alternative to seeking appropriate medical advice.