Myths Around Prenatal Massage

Misconceptions around prenatal massage are common. It is vital to spread factual information to both potential massage clients as well as massage therapists. One of the best ways to do this is to address myths related to prenatal massages head on. Here are three of the most common misconceptions around prenatal massage.

By Emily Chaffee

Pregnancy can create some wild changes in our bodies, all are pretty amazing, but some are also kind of strange and uncomfortable. The doulas at Carolina Birth and Wellness are here to hear about all the glamorous changes (how great are your hair and nails with those prenatal vitamins?) and also the less glamorous ones.


We are passionate about providing evidence based information when it comes to caring for your body. Specifically, clients tend to ask a lot of questions about prenatal massages. These questions include:


Are prenatal massages safe during pregnancy?


When should I avoid a prenatal massage?


Who gives the best prenatal massage?


As a prenatal massage therapist with over 10 years experience and as the lead prenatal massage instructor at several area massage schools, our owner, Emily Chaffee, is passionate about spreading factual information to both potential clients and massage therapists.


One of the most common ways to do this is addressing myths related to prenatal massages head on. So let’s jump right into the most common myths, shall we?

FIRST MYTH: Prenatal massage cannot be done in the first trimester is FALSE.

Prenatal massage, when done by a trained therapist, can be done anytime from when you first get that positive pregnancy test to when you are in active labor. Part of the fear behind a massage during the first trimester stems from the fact that miscarriages are common at 6 to 9 weeks, squarely in the first trimester.


To be clear though, a miscarriage occurs because the zygote has a cellular abnormality or the uterus is not capable of holding the zygote, not by the way a trained and professional massage therapist massages you.


One in three pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, and those are really scary numbers, so some massage therapist choose to distance themselves from the first trimester to protect themselves. Note: this has nothing to do with the client, but only the massage therapist’s incorrect fears or lack of training.

Prenatal massage, when done by a trained therapist, can be done anytime from when you first get that positive pregnancy test to when you are in active labor.

SECOND MYTH: Deep pressure during a prenatal massage is unsafe is FALSE

If you love deep pressure massages, you may have heard this myth and felt disappointment because who wants feather strokes during a massage? Not many people! And yes, there are times when deep, direct and/or traumatic pressure or injury to the stomach or back could cause an embryo or zygote to spontaneously miscarry; but a trained massage therapist would never provide traumatic work during a massage.


A prenatal massage therapist is trained on where deep pressure is safe and where it is not, so even if you like deep or firm pressure on your shoulders and back, we will not use our elbows ever on your stomach or directly on your low back. Mostly because that wouldn’t feel good, but also because we are experts on prenatal anatomy and other contraindications during pregnancy.

THIRD MYTH: Foot massage can cause premature labor is FALSE

Yes, there are some acupressure points in your feet and ankles that may lead to labor being stimulated if you are ready to go into labor, but there is not a magic point to press and voila, labor happens! Again, if that was the case, inductions would be a lot shorter if we should just pressure above your ankle and contractions start and your cervix begins to prepare for birth. During a prenatal massage, we can still massage your feet, but we will put pressure on certain points to avoid any potential issues.


While there are many more myths related to pregnancy and massage, these are the most common ones. If you have any questions about whether a prenatal massage is safe, please contact us and we will happily answer your questions!


However, we do want to add, prenatal massages should feel good, both physically and emotionally. If there is a reason why you are not comfortable with one, or a particular aspect of one, you are allowed to say you want to avoid certain areas, certain pressure, and/or certain times of your pregnancy because above all else, your consent and mental health is most important.


So, go enjoy that massage however pregnant you are, you deserve it!

Emily Chaffee is a fertility and birth doula, childbirth educator, perinatal massage therapist and certified educator of infant massage. She started her doula journey during her own pregnancy in 2015 as she learned the power of her own voice, and realized that she could help others find theirs. Since then, she has built Carolina Birth and Wellness ( to be a full spectrum doula agency that provides support for individuals and families from preconception through the first years of having a baby. Her own struggles with infertility has also opened her eyes to helping women understand what their body is telling them through the menstrual cycle and various other biomarkers that are so often ignored or not talked about because it seems too personal. She strongly believes in helping her clients learn each and every option available to them as the only right choice is what is best for you, your body, and your family.

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