your safety

Massage can be of enormous benefit to you but I do also appreciate that you may wonder whether it is safe to have a massage during your pregnancy.

On the whole, massage is safe if you are having a straightforward pregnancy and are generally well and free from health problems (please see the list of contraindications below for more information). I have nearly 10 years of experience working with pregnant and postnatal women and am fully trained and qualified to provide massage in pregnancy and my priority is ensuring the comfort and safety of you and your baby throughout your treatment.

Please do let me know of any health issues when you book your appointment - even if they don't seem that important. That way, I can advise you appropriately at an early stage rather than possibly disappointing you at your appointment. In many cases I may just need confirmation that your GP, midwife or other healthcare provider gives their consent for you to have massage therapy prior to any treatments.

You’ll have a full and detailed consultation either before or at your first appointment when you’ll be asked to fill in a health questionnaire with me. We’ll discuss any problems you may be having and confirm that massage is suitable for you.

For those of you who haven’t had a massage while pregnant before, the treatment is a little different from a standard massage. The massage couch is fixed at a lower height than usual so that it is easy for you to get on and off. I’ll help you lie on your side with your head resting on a pillow and will support your bump and knees with as many pillows, cushions and bolsters as it takes in order to make you as comfortable as possible. You'll be covered in towels throughout the treatment with only the area being massage being exposed.

I’ll massage one side of your body and then help you sit up and lie back down at the other end of the couch, reposition your support pillows and massage the other side of your body. I can then also prop you up at the end to give you a short facial massage. You won’t be lying on your back or front at all during the treatment.

There are some instances when it isn’t advisable to have a massage and these are described in the contraindications to massage section below. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like to have a chat about anything mentioned here or to find out if massage would be suitable for you.

Please follow the link below for frequently asked questions about the treatments. 

pregnancy and postnatal massage contraindications

We tend to talk about three different types of contraindications - total contraindications where massage isn't suitable; medical contraindications where massage may be suitable with the approval of your doctor, midwife or GP; and local contraindications where your therapist will avoid massaging any areas affected.

If you are experiencing any significant health problems or a high-risk pregnancy, you probably won’t be seeking out a massage anyway. But if you are, then I will need to get approval from your primary healthcare professional before giving you a treatment.

There are also a few instances when it may be less obvious that medical approval is needed prior to a treatment and so it is worth checking through the list of contraindications below before making an appointment. If you are uncertain or unclear about what to do before booking a treatment, then please don't hesitate to contact me for a chat.

  • Fever – massage isn’t suitable until you’re fully recovered.
  • Infectious and other communicable diseases and conditions – including urinary tract infections, skin infections, coughs, colds and flu.
  •  Active uterine bleeding – if you are experiencing this please contact your GP, midwife or consultant as soon as possible.
  • Undiagnosed abdominal pain – may be symptomatic of something more serious and so please contact your primary care provider as soon as possible if you are experiencing this. Massage will not be suitable until you are given a diagnosis, and then consent from your primary care provider will be required.
  • Undiagnosed back pain – as above. Massage will not be suitable until you are given a diagnosis, and then consent from your primary care provider will be required.
  • Bleeding or heavy discharge – please contact your primary care giver as soon as possible. Massage will not be suitable until the issue is resolved and consent provided by your primary care giver.
  • Blood clot or phlebitis – massage will not be suitable as bodywork can dislodge the clot.
  • Pregnancy bed rest – full massage won’t be suitable but please call to discuss as I may be able to give you a gentle hand and arm or facial massage with the approval of your primary care provider.
  • Eclampsia – massage isn’t suitable.
  • Threatened miscarriage or early labour – massage isn’t suitable
  • Visual disturbances – may be indicative of something more serious, please contact your primary healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • Recent operations – within 4 - 6 weeks asmassage may cause infection (please let me know if what operation you have had so we can make a decision about when to go ahead with your treatment.
  • Acute injuries (in past 48 hours) – massage may aggravate these and cause more pain and trauma.
  • Hypersensitive skin – massage may make you uncomfortable and aggravate your skin.
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescription painkillers) massage isn’t suitable.

  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Diabetes and gestational diabetes that is not controlled
  • High blood pressure/chronic hypertension – if you have consistently high blood pressure it can mean that you are at higher risk of developing more serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP. Your primary healthcare provider will be able to tell you whether massage is suitable.
  • Placental dysfunctions
  • High-risk pregnancy – massage isn’t recommended unless your primary healthcare provider gives their consent
  • Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or Pelvic Girdle Instability –your doctor or midwife will be able to advise you whether massage will be suitable for you if you are suffering with this.
  • Cancer - gentle face/arm and hand massage may be suitable with your doctor or midwife's consent.
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Psychiatric illness
  • Unexplained lumps and bumps – they may indicate a more serious health problem and need to be checked by your GP before massage can go ahead.
  • Other significant health issues

  • Massage is suitable but affected areas of the body are avoided during the treatment. In many instances you will be the best judge of whether massage is suitable for you at the time but any such issues will be discussed with you during your consultation.
  • Local contraindications include – areas of inflammation, varicose veins, non-infectious skin problems, healing bones, strains and sprains, heavy bruising, cuts and abrasions etc.

  • Nausea – if you are feeling nauseous you probably won't fancy a massage and so please consider this when timing your appointment.
  • Heartburn - lying down may be uncomfortable for you and so you’ll be the best judge of whether a massage will be suitable for you at the time (bearing in mind that you will be lying on your side for the treatment). If you would like a massage and suffer from heartburn and are taking medication for it then it is a good idea to have your medication with you or to take some before your treatment. 

These lists aren’t exhaustive but are intended to give you an overview of some of the main contraindications relating to massage. If you are in any doubt over a condition you have or symptoms you are experiencing I do advise you to consult your GP, midwife or consultant before having a massage treatment. Thanks!

Calico Pregnancy Massage Safe in our Hands