How Prenatal Massage Supports a Healthy Pregnancy

Prenatal Massage therapy in Toronto| Dundas University Health Clinic

Prenatal Massage Therapy – Overview

Contrary to popular belief, massage is much more than a spa indulgence. An ancient medical practice, it dates back several centuries. While the techniques have evolved over time, the goals have basically stayed the same: using manual touch and pressure to bring about improvement in health, and enhancement in vitality and wellness by tapping into the body’s natural resources. In massage therapy, the massage therapist rubs and kneads the soft tissues of your body such as the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin, varying the pressure and movement. Massage therapy today is an important part of modern medicine and is used in multiple medical fields to address specific health issues. Massage therapy also forms an important part of prenatal care that is given to pregnant women. Prenatal massage therapy helps with issues of pain, anxiety, depression and nausea experienced during pregnancy. It also helps reduce symptoms of depression, and relieve muscle and joint pains, as well as labour outcomes and the health of the newborn baby.


Prenatal massage therapy uses different techniques to treat different issues. One of the popular techniques, called Swedish massage, applies light pressure to the muscle groups of the body. It helps relax muscle tension and improve lymphatic and blood circulation. It addresses several issues associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes that occur as a result of hormone changes.

Here’s a look at some of the many benefits of prenatal massage therapy

  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
    Preparing for childbirth can be stressful, more so if it’s the first child. Expecting pain and worrying about possible complications can raise stress levels, and lead to anxiety and panic attacks. Massage therapy can help release this tension, relaxing body and mind. This helps keep the focus on the baby and one’s own health.
  • Pain relief
    During pregnancy, the body’s hormones, such as relaxin, help prepare the mother’s body to deliver the baby by loosening the joints, muscles, and ligaments. However, in some women, the spinal column can become excessively loosened due to relaxin. This causes misalignment and pain. As the baby grows in the womb, the belly of the mother grows in size. This changes the mother’s centre of gravity, and changes the way of walking which causes back and leg pain. These symptoms can be reduced with regular massage therapy for pregnant women.
  • Hormone regulation
    Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can lead to frequent changes in emotion, which are difficult to manage. The benefits of prenatal massage therapy are two-fold here – reducing the stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine, and raising the level of the hormones dopamine and serotonin which induce a feeling of well-being and happiness. Proper hormone regulation also leads to fewer complications such as low birth weight of the baby.
  • Sleep improvement
    It can be challenging to get quality sleep during pregnancy due to aches, pains and worries. However, good sleep is very important for overall good health and a healthy pregnancy. Massage therapy for pregnant women can help in this regard by increasing serotonin in the system, which in turn helps release the melatonin hormone. This signals your body to relax and sleep.
  • Inflammation reduction
    Pregnancy is a time when there is a sharp increase in the mother’s body’s fluids. Along with the baby’s girth, this puts pressure on the mother’s circulatory system. It often results in oedema or swelling mostly seen in the ankles, as well as the face and fingers. With massage therapy, the toxins that can build up in the retained fluid are flushed out through the lymphatic system. This ensures smooth blood flow.


It is important to take the necessary precautions for prenatal massage. Be informed about prenatal massage, discuss the same with the prenatal care provider, and work together with professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable for your downtown Toronto massage therapy.

Prenatal massage is generally safe at any point in pregnancy, whether during the first, second, or third trimester. However, massage in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) is generally avoided to reduce the risk of miscarriage.

The side-lying position is considered by many professionals to be the best position for a pregnant woman during massage. Before your first appointment, do confirm with the massage therapist the position they place their clients in.

Among the precautions for prenatal massage, do ensure you speak to your healthcare provider in advance if you have recently experienced bleeding or pre-term contractions. Inform the healthcare provider if you have any of the following conditions, as part of the necessary precautions for prenatal massage:

  • High-risk pregnancy
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Previous pre-term labour
  • Severe swelling, high blood pressure, or sudden, severe headaches
  • Recently gave birth

Seek an appropriate massage therapist

If you are interested in downtown Toronto massage therapy, it is important to choose a certified prenatal massage therapist. Such a therapist would have received specific training in prenatal massage and would know how to manage different pregnancy and massage needs. A prenatal massage therapist would know how to position the expectant mother safely during massage to avoid strain on the uterine ligaments. A certified prenatal massage therapist would also be able to spot the symptoms of blood clots and varicose veins, if any. Select highly trained and qualified specialists who have years of experience in delivering gentle and skilled prenatal massage therapy. Call DUHC or book online to schedule your appointment with our experts for downtown Toronto massage therapy services.


Prenatal massage therapy can help improve the overall prenatal health of pregnant women. Massage therapy for pregnant women works as a physical and emotional health supplement to enhance pregnancy outcomes and maternal health. Based on the guidance and advice of a prenatal care provider, massage therapy can be included in the prenatal care routine. Before beginning any new therapeutic practice to enjoy the benefits of prenatal massage therapy, always consult your midwife or obstetrician.