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Pregnancy Massage: Benefits & Risks

Updated: Feb 21

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of life that a woman can enter into. With the shift in hormonal balance, to changes in the body almost every week, to morning sickness, mood swings, body aches and whatnot, it’s anything but an easy journey for a soon-to-be-Mum, but it’s definitely worth it. This is where pregnancy massage in Christchurch can help.

There are a series of scientifically-proven reasons why an expecting Mum should take a pregnancy massage (a.k.a prenatal massage). As we said earlier, pregnancy affects your body and mind, causing a slew of emotions as well as aches and pains in places that were unknown before.

A prenatal massage helps relieve some of the discomforts of pregnancy while also promoting relaxation - but is it safe? The answer is, in general, yes. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before booking a session.

The first step should be your doctor’s approval. You should first consult your doctor if getting a pregnancy massage in Christchurch is safe for you since it’s not recommended for all women during pregnancy. After you've received your doctor's approval, you'll need to find a massage therapist who has completed the proper training and certification to provide pregnant massage.

What Is a Pregnancy Massage?

Getting a massage treatment is a natural way to improve your body's function, relieve pain, and reduce stress. Prenatal massage is a kind of massage treatment designed exclusively for women who are expecting a child.

Type of Bodywork Used

The kind of bodywork performed during a pregnancy massage depends on the unique demands of each pregnant woman. These requirements, which might be hormonal, mental, or physical - will shift as the pregnancy progresses.

A prenatal massage basically induces mild Swedish massage techniques, which promote muscle relaxation to the whole body, using different kinds of strokes and patterns, which include:

  • Friction: small circular movements

  • Effleurage: long gliding strokes

  • Tapotement: percussion movements, brisk tapping

  • Vibration: shaking and rocking movements of specific muscles

  • Petrissage: kneading the muscles

A pregnancy massage will also address the special demands of a pregnant woman. To adapt to the physical changes (such as the growing belly), special care is necessary to position the woman's body through appropriate bolstering.

Depending on how far along the pregnancy is, this may involve certain pregnancy-friendly body postures. For example, during the second and third trimesters, side-lying postures are most common because it is THE safest position for pregnant women, as it aids in maximum heart function and foetal oxygenation.

Benefits of A Pregnancy Massage

The following are some of the advantages of prenatal massage:

  • Provides a general feeling of happiness and well-being

  • Improves sleep through increasing muscle and tissue oxygenation

  • Hormone management (which is linked with lower stress levels)

  • Relief from pain and aches

  • Swelling reduction (edema)

  • Anxiety and stress relief


Pregnant women who are depressed are likely to have early or low-birth-weight babies, according to studies. In a 2010 research, pregnant women were randomly selected to undergo 20-minute pregnancy massage therapy sessions once or twice a week for 5, 12, or 16 weeks.

As per the results, mums who received prenatal massage started experiencing lowers levels of stress, depression and anxiety, including far lesser preterm complications, as compared to the group who didn’t get the massage.

Other advantages of pregnancy massage mentioned in the study are:

  • Lesser chances of depression (which might have been the result of an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels)

  • Reduced anxiety levels

  • Back and leg discomfort is reduced.

  • Cortisol levels (the stress hormone) have dropped significantly

  • Drop in the rate of postpartum depression.

The research also found a number of advantages for the foetus. The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation, and motor scales (a test of a newborn baby's reaction to the extrauterine surrounding, including an evaluation of activity levels and reflexes) were connected to greater foetal performance after prenatal massage. Cortisol levels were also comparatively lesser in those newborns.

Risk Factors

When assessing the advantages of pregnancy massage, it's crucial to keep in mind that there are some drawbacks as well. For example, there are certain cases when pregnancy massage is not advised, meaning in areas (of the body) that shouldn’t be massaged.


Contraindications are scenarios in which a certain therapy, drug, or other treatment may cause harm. Getting a pregnancy massage is not recommended for those with certain medical issues or in certain situations, particularly during pregnancy, such as:

  • Bleeding problems

  • Taking anticoagulants

  • Thrombocytopenia (a condition in which a person's blood platelets are low)

  • Skin Healing (from burns, wounds, or other types of skin breakdown)

  • Blood clotting

  • Fractured bones

  • Infections

  • Osteoporosis (progressive thinning of bones)

  • Using some prescription drugs

  • Unregulated hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Organ transplantation or recent surgery

Pregnancy-related Contraindications

There are also a number of pregnancy-related issues that might make a pregnancy massage dangerous.

If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid getting a pregnancy massage.

A high-risk pregnancy:

Bleeding, pre-term contractions and preeclampsia are all risk factors that make a pregnancy high risk.


A condition known as pre-eclampsia is a severe pregnancy complication. It generally appears after 20 weeks and is characterised by a severe increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine, which may lead to a stroke or even death.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT):

Deep vein thrombosis might lead to leg swelling because of the blood clot (thrombus). However, once the DVT is cured the person might be able to have a prenatal massage.

Placenta previa:

A disorder in which the placenta partly or completely clogs the uterus's neck, preventing the baby from being delivered normally.

Gestational diabetes mellitus:

Prenatal massage is not exactly contraindicated by high blood sugar levels during pregnancy; nonetheless, a person must get permission from their doctor and keep monitoring their sugar levels before participating.

How to Choose a Prenatal Massage Therapist

You can start looking for massage therapists in Christchurch who are certified to conduct pregnancy massage when you have your doctor's approval.

Make sure a prospective therapist meets the following criteria to ensure a safe and effective experience:

  • They are certified as a pregnancy massage therapist in Christchurch (you can look up the therapist online to ensure the person is licenced in massage and certified to provide massage during pregnancy)

  • Ensures that the environment is clean.

  • They know of the essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy should not be used (such as basil and clary sage)

  • That they are skilled at applying and using correct posture and authorised massage methods.


Prenatal massage is a unique technique used by massage therapists who have specialised in treating pregnant women. While there are a variety of massage styles, a Swedish massage therapy is often considered to promote muscular relaxation to the full-body during pregnancy.

So, make sure that you only reach out to a trained therapist for a pregnancy massage in Christchurch. To book a session, reach out to us today.

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