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How Is Prenatal Massage Different?

From achy hips to swollen feet, pregnancy can create a few aches and pains that leaves you craving a massage.

But, how do you get comfortable on the table? How does the massage therapist keep you and your baby safe?

This article will overview what a prenatal massage entails and 4 ways how it's different than a regular massage!

1) Positioning

One of the biggest differences between regular massage and prenatal massage is how you lie on the table. After all, you can't lie face-down on your belly when you're 30 weeks pregnant!

You might have been told by your doctor to sleep on your side for optimal baby safety. You can also get prenatal massage while lying on your side: one pillow goes under your head, and another between your knees. Bonus points for a “teddy bear” pillow under your arms to support your shoulders and snuggle with!

It's just like getting comfy at home with a pregnancy pillow, except there's also magic hands massaging your stress and soreness away.

Prenatal massage lying on your side

If you're tired of lying on your side and your hips could use a break, ask your therapist about a semi-reclined position like this:

Prenatal massage position is semi-reclined

By lying back on a wedge like this, we keep Baby's weight safely off your organs. We also place a thick pillow under the knees so your low back and hips can totally relax. Many pregnant women love getting massage in a semi-reclined position!

A third resting position is use a belly bed to lie face-down. It's either a table or a foam topper that has a cut out for your baby bump to fit into, so you can lie face down without putting pressure on your belly. But because the size of your unique belly bump might not be the same size as the belly cut-out, these don’t work for everyone at every stage of pregnancy.

The bottom line: if it feels comfortable and supportive, great! If it feels like it’s putting pressure on your organs or your legs are getting cold or falling asleep, change position.

At our clinic, we offer prenatal massage in side-lying and semi-reclined positions. We don't use "belly cut out" pillows.

If you have a preference for your massage, leave a note when you book your appointment and we'll set it up for you!

2) Focus Areas

Prenatal massage benefits Sciatica and low back pain

How you stand, sit, and use your body is going to be different throughout your pregnancy, so your massage should be different, too.

We can adapt how long we massage each part of the body to focus on your wellness goals.

For example, as Baby grows, there's more and more strain on the hips and low back. Many people find prenatal massage worth it for Sciatica and low back pain relief alone.

Prenatal therapists can also help relieve swollen feet and ankles.

We'll talk before your massage so we can tailor your session perfectly to YOU.

3) The Pressure

You might be worried about the risks of prenatal massage. After all, we don't want to hurt you or the baby. Your body is stretching in new ways and deserves to be treated with extra care during these months.

You may find a more gentle pressure to be more effective during your pregnancy. At the very least, during prenatal massage we need to avoid deep pressure on the legs.

Since your body is releasing hormones to loosen your joints, we'll take special care not to overstretch your hip, shoulder, and other joints.

4) The “Fourth” Trimester

Prenatal massage for tired, swollen feet

The first 6 weeks after birth is considered the Fourth Trimester of pregnancy:

During this time, stick with your prenatal massage therapist.


Your body is in recovery mode, and it's important that your massage is supportive, not taxing.

You'll probably find side-lying and semi-reclined positions continue to be more comfortable for a while after birth, especially if you're breastfeeding.

If you had a C-section, you can return for massage right away as long as you stick with side-lying or semi-reclined positions until the incision fully heals. (By the way: massage is AMAZING for C-section scars.)

We can adapt how long we massage each part of you body to focus on your wellness goals..o place a thick pillow under the knees so your low back and hips can totally relax.

Many clients find that having some dedicated "Me Time" scheduled for themselves is really helpful when there's a new baby in the house.

Book Your Prenatal Massage

Now you know the difference between a regular massage VS prenatal massage!

A massage therapist with the right training will be able to adapt all their usual massage techniques and positions to keep you and Baby safe and comfortable throughout your entire pregnancy... So you can rest easy and enjoy the healing pressure. You deserve it!

One last tip - don't forget to empty your bladder before the start of your massage! Nobody likes having to get up and run to the restroom in the middle of their zen time ;)

P.S. Is it true that you can't get massage during the first trimester of pregnancy? No, not at all. Find out more in 6 Prenatal Massage Myths BUSTED.

Prenatal massage in Seattle WA

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