Is Massage Safe in the First Trimester?

If you go to a beauty salon or Spa and book a massage, they will always ask if you are pregnant and in most cases will refuse to give you a massage except where they have specially trained therapists. But does this mean that massage is unsafe in the first trimester?

Is there proof?

In truth there has been no research into the safety of massage in the first trimester so we can’t prove it either way, but massage is akin to gentle exercise in that it improves circulation, oxygenates the blood and releases endorphins. As the NHS recommend that pregnant women stay as active as possible during their pregnancy, the implication is that it is both safe and beneficial.  So if you’ve enjoyed massage before, it’s a great way to help you adjust to your new adventure.

Why you need massage

The first three months of a pregnancy is a time of incredible change; from a single cell, the baby becomes a recognisably human creature measuring 5cm long and women experience a tremendous range of symptoms, which might include a storm of conflicting emotions and symptoms;

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Worries about miscarriage
  • Concerns about being a parent
  • Hormonal changes
  • Conflict about body image

This is a time when most women can really use some confidential support, nourishment and me-time especially as they may not want to tell family and friends about their pregnancy until later. So is massage safe in the first trimester?


Benefits of massage in first trimester

A massage during this period will, as massage always should, be guided by what feels good for you.

There’s not doing to be much work around the pelvis and most newly pregnant women naturally don’t want that, the exception is for gentle strokes around the diaphragm to ease the breathing and allow better blood flow to the baby. The focus for the massage will be on:

  • Creating more awareness of your body
  • Settling your body and hormones
  • Providing reassurance that your body knows how to do this amazing thing
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Promoting calmness
  • Dissolving muscular tension
  • Allowing the physical and mental space for the idea of a baby to grow
  • Connecting with your baby

When you shouldn’t get a massage

There are times when you should not get a massage during the first trimester, if you have any of these symptoms, you should ask for advice from your midwife or GP.

  • Vaginal bleeding (which often occurs in a normal pregnancy that is brought to term)
  • Pelvic cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dull ache in lower back
  • Clot-like fluid or tissue from the vagina
  • Fever, weakness

Massage IS safe in the first trimester

In summary, yes! It is safe to have a safe massage in the first trimester if you think you’ll enjoy it. I have two pieces of advice;

  • Find an especially trained therapist
  •  Ring her up and see if you feel comfortable with her
  • If the massage doesn’t feel good, tell your therapist and ask her to work differently.
  • You can always ask her to stop
  • You are quite within your rights to get off the table and end the session if you do not feel safe

Go for it!

If you are looking for a pregnancy massage therapist in your area, have a look at the Well Mother directory. All therapists trained at Well Mother are highly skilled and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

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