1St Trimester Massage

Updated on July 28, 2010
M.P. asks from Rio Rancho, NM
15 answers

I usually go and get a massage once a month to help me de-stress and it helps to prevent me from getting tension headaches. I am 7 weeks pregnant and I was wondering if there is anything wrong with continuing this monthly stress relief technique? I have heard stories about miscarriage but not sure how true that is. I had my first doctors appt this morning and when I asked her she didnt seem like it was that big of a deal to go and get them done. I have not gone in almost 3 months and I have been starting to get headaches so I would really like to go soon but I just wanted to find out from other moms who have gone and done this during the first trimester. Did you have to tell the massage place that you were pregnant? Thanks!!

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answers from Dallas on

Tell the massage place that you are pregnant, they use different techniques. However, you may run into some problems. When I was pregnant I went to 3 different massage places and they asked if I was in my 1st trimester because they wouldn't do it. I'm assuming that since they won't do it in the first trimester that it isn't a good idea, but I don't know why.

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answers from Austin on

Hi M.,

I'm a doula and licensed massage therapist (LMT) specializing in pregnancy massage in Austin. There is no reason you should avoid massage during your first trimester. The reason some LMT's or spas won't do massages in the first trimester is to avoid any chance of a lawsuit if the client were to have a miscarriage and try to blame it on the massage.

There are some labor-inducing acupressure techniques that should be avoided until 40 weeks. The LMT has to be pretty deliberate when doing the acupressure to stimulate labor, however. A relaxation massage or a foot rub during a pedicure is not going to bring on preterm labor.

So treat yourself, mama! It's perfectly safe and you deserve it :)

Steph Scott

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answers from Cleveland on

I don't think it's a problem. BUt I would tell them that you were pregnant.

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answers from Eugene on

Like everyone here has already said, massage is definitely ok during pregnancy--in fact, if you'd never done massage before as a method of stress relief and headache control, THIS would be the time I would recommend starting it. I am trained as a midwife (not practicing due to raising my own kids and needing a more consistently paying job), and my partner is an LMT. Just be sure you do tell your massage therapist that you are pregnant because there are a few acupressure points they will want to avoid, as well as ways to massage that specifically help pregnant women in different trimesters of pregnancy (no one mentioned THAT yet! ;)

I would also suggest a few other methods of headache control. I suffer from migraines occasionally, and pregnancy was no exception. Having a massage therapist in the bedroom at 3 am was a wonderful thing, no question, but even he couldn't always solve it and I didn't want to take medications during pregnancy. So I learned about herbs--in fact, that was what originally led me to midwifery.

Here are some that are safe during pregnancy and work in various ways to reduce/cure/prevent headaches:

Passionflower--my A number One herb of all time! You can buy this in tincture form (don't worry about the tiny amount of alcohol involved, unless you already have issues with alcohol--no it will NOT harm the baby, and the alcohol not only draws out the herbal constituents the best, it also causes your body to absorb and utilize them immediately if you place a dropperful under the tongue, which has receptor sites that don't require stomach digestion. If you do have alcohol issues, you can also get this in a glycerin base, but it's not quite as effective). Passionflower is not only a beautiful plant you can grow in temperate regions, but it is a natural vasodilator (relaxes your blood vessels), releasing tension in the neck and shoulders, a primary point where the nervous system gets "tight" leading to headaches. There is NO danger in pregnancy, and nothing habit-forming, so you can take this as needed. I survived with this stuff!

Valerian root--also best in tincture form. This is the basis plant for valium, though when taken in plant form, with all it's natural constituents, it does not have the intensity or the habit forming nature of the drug. Also not dangerous in pregnancy, but you shouldn't do more than a couple of dropperfuls per day. This is mildly sedative as well as working for those "front of the brain" headaches. Good for night time, but not bad for day if you need it. If you grow it, the plant forms tall stalks with umbrella like white flowers, and you will notice that just as the sun is setting, it will send a soft, soothing sent all through your yard--and that is it's action internally!

Skullcap--Again, tincture. Again, probably 2-3 times per day, no more than a few days in a row. Excellent when nothing else works. Can be mildly habit-forming, but nothing like pharmaceuticals.

Motherwort--every mother's friend, literally "Mother Herb". Can be taken at will, and is good for mild stress/tension/hormonal mood swings. Continue this one postpartum!

Good luck!

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answers from Boise on

I would tell them that you are pregnant. I go to an acupuncturist and I know that there were some spots that he avoided when I was pregnant. Better to be safe and tell them, but you don't have to give them up. Some places specialize in pre-natal massage.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I talked to my doc and massage therapist about massage during pregnancy (1st tri particularly) and they said it is just fine, and it is a perfect way to help us through this trying time!

Bascially, just make sure the massage therapist you choose is certified or at least well-versed on pregnancy massage techniques and is aware of your pregnancy and what stage you are in. I knew I was safe with mine when I called to set up a massage in the second tri and she told me I couldn't lay flat on my back and that she was going to avoid certain areas (ie ankles). She knew these things without me having to tell her.

Also, remember to stay hydrated. That is important non-pregnant of course, but even more so now.

Happy massaging!!



answers from Phoenix on

My OBGYN's office actually offers pregnancy massages. I think it's fine as long as they know you're pregnant. I would absolutely find someone who specializes in pregnancy massage because it's very important that they know what they're doing because yes, their are certain areas that they should not work extensively or deeply on (once you’re close to your due date, they can work on certain areas that can help induce labor which is probably where the risk of miscarriage would come from if done too soon). I'm 15 and a half weeks and I've been getting a massage once a month since before I was pregnant. The girl that I see actually won't do a massage flat on your back or stomach once you're pregnant. She does it on your side and when she does put you on your back elevates your head and feet almost like you're in a craft-matic bed. I've also been suffering from headaches almost every day for the past few weeks (which I didn't have with my previous pregnancies) and the massages have been key to helping me maintain them.



answers from Tucson on

I was told not to have massages done in the first trimester. In fact, before I knew that I tried to get one when I was pregnant with my first child and they wouldn't even do it because I was still in my first trimester. You may look on www.babycenter.com for more information as I think I just read something about it as well and to wait until your second or third trimester for massages.

Good luck!



answers from Flagstaff on

I've gotten pregnancy massages for 3 out of my 4 boys. The lady I go to doesn't do deep tissue massage which is great for me.



answers from Chicago on

Massage is a great stress reliever for pregnancy. They may only be willing to give you a shoulder massage but that could help. I think most places will not give a deep massage due to possible problems. A friend of mine a long time ago would get migraines during her pregancies and massage helped a lot. She would sit in one of those chairs that you lean forward and they would also massage the back of her neck and temples.



answers from Buffalo on

Hey M.!! I had this same concern last year when I was pregnant. I spoke to my doctor about it, and even though she didn't say no, she didn't say yes either. She told me that in the first trimester, they don't suggest having a massage. She told me that after the 1st trimester, there is less of a risk for a miscarriage and other complications if I chose to have a massage. So they pretty much don't suggest it in the 1st trimester because of the complications and risk of possible miscarriage. Yes, you do also have to tell the massage therapist that you are pregnant. There are some places that refuse to do massages on pregnant women, and there are other places that specialize in pregnancy massages. I suffer from migraines, and the one thing that helped me while I was pregnant and even now is a massage. After my 1st trimester, I went and had one and it was amazing! After that, I had a massage every other week up until I was about 37 weeks pregnant. I had twins, so it was VERY hard for me to lay on my side or back to get a massage! Good luck to you!! :)



answers from Indianapolis on

Yes, tell them you are because there are a could pressure points they will stay away from. Otherwise, it's totally cool. Lay on your stomach and back until it's uncomfortable and then get them while lying on your side (unless you can find someone with a prego massage table that had pieces that drop out for your belly and breasts so you can still lie on your stomach later - LOVE those!!!).



answers from Tucson on

There are massages for pregnant women. Yes you have to tell them you are pregnant. Ask if they give pregnancy massages where you go, if not, you will have to find a place that does. I had one late in my pregnancy with my second child and it helped a lot in reducing stress and lessening the aches and pains you get during pregnancy. I went to Peaceful Spirits when I got mine.

D. P.



answers from San Francisco on

I had massages throughout my pregnancy... no problems. The only difference I noticed is that they will give you less pressure. I like my massages stronger, so that was kind of a bummer for me.

The other reason they ask or need to know is because then they'll try to stay away from your ab region, not press so hard on the lower back, etc. Also, they sometimes set up the table differently (the one with the hole so your belly can hang through) or set up different mattress pads for you to lay on your side, or a pillow to put between your knees etc...



answers from Albuquerque on

Just make sure you tell your masseuse you are prego...there are pressure points they are supposed to avoid. Webbings in your hands, achilles tendon, etc.

Enjoy your massage!!

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