Depending on movements, techniques and pressure applied there are 80 different styles of Massage for pregnant women. Generally, one uses hands and fingers while others may use elbows, forearms and even feet.

You must have noticed different massage styles getting popular time–to-time and wondering which one is great. Which will benefit you most?

They vary widely. In some the therapist need to unclothe the receiver while others don’t. They may last for 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Some use lotions and essential oils while others don’t. So, before you book an appointment ask yourself why you need this? Just to rejuvenate yourself or need some help treat a particular health condition?

Communicate clearly what you are looking for and what style your therapist is using. See if it can be customized according to your needs and purpose.

Different Styles Of Massage For Pregnant Women?

Let’s study some of the popular styles of Massage for Pregnant Women:

Deep Tissue Massage

In this technique, your trouble-spots get all the spotlight. The deep layers of muscles and tendons are attended with slow, deliberate strokes.

It is less rhythmic in comparison to other techniques, but regarded as therapeutic in alleviating muscle injuries and pain.

It has been contraindicated by most of the doctors in the early trimester of pregnancy. Though, it is regarded as perilous for pregnant women, expert hands with moderate techniques can treat back ache-like pregnancy conditions.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is performed with soft long strokes on the topmost muscle layers and joint movements. They are much light and rhythmic in comparison to Deep Skin Massage. There are four common strokes used in Swedish massage,

Effleurage, a smooth relaxing stroke to relax the tissues.

Petrissage follows effleurage that includes wringing, rolling and rubdown of the tissues.

Friction, the following deep spherical movements help in blood circulation and breaks down the disfigured tissue.

Tapotement, the final alternating tapping movement done by cupped hands or fingers.

This therapy relaxes and well as energizes the pregnant woman and helps her recover an injury.

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu Massage adopts a holistic approach performed through light clothes keeping the pregnant woman comfortable.

It has traveled from Japan and became more popular in western countries. Shiatsu in Japanese means finger pressure.

It follows the principle of stimulating specific pressure points of the human body using thumb or other body parts to treat and improve overall health. It is a gentler and painless alternative to acupuncture.

Hot Stone Massage

As the name suggests, stones (warmed over a certain temperature) are placed on certain acupressure points of the body.

When alternated with cold ones it transmits a varying heat sensation deep into the body. However, this employing this massage during pregnancy has attracted global controversy.

During pregnancy, the blood doubles in the system leading to high blood pressure. Using the therapy could have fatal consequences.

Even many certified therapists don’t recommend or offer this service to pregnant women.

Getting A Massage Without Professional Help

Professional prenatal massage for pregnant women is one option to relief yourself from pain. But, they are expensive and sometimes difficult to put into a busy schedule.

There are many Massage therapists who offer pregnancy massage classes to couples.

Let’s take a quick look how you can do it yourself at home with a little help from your husband.

Decide first, whether you need a general massage or some specific technique and positions. Regular massage not only benefits the expecting woman, but reduces the risks through labor as well.

Learn the positions, make sure it is comfortable.

Sideways position

  • Lie on firm surface like a mattress.
  • Place two pillows in a “V-shape”. Lie on your side keeping your shoulder between the pillows.
  • Add more pillows to support the bump and back.
  • Add two more pillows for head support and to keep the spine aligned.
  • Keep the bottom leg straight while bending the upper leg with a pillow underneath.

Crouching Position

  • Crouch by the bed, make sure your shoulders are held up by the bed.
  • Don’t add pressure on your bump. Add a few pillows under your knees and make it comfortable.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and there is no pressure on your belly.

Massage instructions for the husband

  • Massage the back on the either side of the spine with a soft hand.
  • Start from your wife’s neck on one side of the spine with a circular stroke and tenderly move down towards the hips.
  • Move up again and do the same on the other side of the spine.
  • Do not message on the spine.
  • Massage the low back and the pelvis with a gentle hand.
  • Press in and go down and slightly rub the buttock while doing so.
  • Don’t move down much. Avoid touching the tailbone.
  • Massage the outer part of the legs.
  • Rub with small circular motions. Start where the foot and the calf meets.
  • Move up. Always start from the foot.

Precautions to take

  • Avoid any lotion or essential oil in first trimester no matter how good and beneficial they say.
  • Avoid the pressure points on the wrists and ankles as they stimulate uterine and may cause contractions.
  • Don’t put pressure on the belly.
  • Don’t massage the inner thighs to relief the swelling.
  • If your wife shows any sign of discomfort or dizziness, stop it at once.

Tips & Tricks

Consult your doctor beforehand if it is okay for your wife to have it.

Massage with soft hand. Avoid vigorous motions.

If using an essential oil, first learn how it affects a pregnant woman. Make sure it is safe for her Mandarin and grapefruit oil help with sleeplessness, preventing stretch marks and fatigue.

Whereas, clove ginger, black pepper are harmful and lead to miscarriage.

Seek an aromatherapist to blend you personalized oil that treats what your wife is suffering from.

Follow the massage session with a glass of water.

Alternative Methods, Coping Up With Prenatal Body Pain

Maternity Support Belts

There are three types of maternity belt, one with single strap, one with extra support and third one is a full prenatal swing. It supports your bump and relieves you from the pain. However, if you have any underlying health issues make sure you employ additional methods.

If you spend most of your day on your feet, a maternity restraint or supporting belt would help you cope up with the pain. The extra lopsided weight of baby bump causes lower back pain. It also relieves you from Pelvic Girdle Pain. Women suffering from hernias, sciatica find it very valuable.


It is specially designed cushions called bolster used to position the baby bump comfortably while you sit or lie on your sides. It balances the belly and supports the spine.


A little rest can alleviate your muscle pain, but if you need additional aid then you can take pain relieving drugs like Acetaminophen (Tylenol). It is regarded as the safest pain-reliever. Never ever, depend on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSADs) like ibuprofen or aspirin. It is capable to cause miscarriage if taken in near conception or early stages of the pregnancy. It may also cause birth defects in newborns. Don’t forget to check its suitability with your doctor.

Soothing Environment

A warm shower can also relax you. You can create a soothing ambience with candles and pleasant music. It uplifts your mood and relaxes you.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal Yoga and mild exercise is important for pregnant women. Not just the uterus expands 1000 times of it prepregnancy size, but there are certain hormonal change as well. It tones your body muscles and improves your blood circulation. Breathing exercises during pregnancy, keeps you calm and wards of the anxiety which is essential for your baby’s health.

Pregnancy is not an appropriate time for headstands or hot yoga classes. Better, you take classes from a certified yoga trainer. If you need help to search one such class near you, try Yoga Finder.

Pregnancy days are those days when you feel differently. You look at the world in a new way. Don’t let any pain, upset your motherhood. Lastly, congratulations for the baby!


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