Information does not replace medical advice. 

(c) 2018 Tree of Life Massage and Wellness LLC

Pregnancy Massage

Doctor's and massage therapists have something in common. They both want to help people feel better. Pregnancy massage is performed while the mother is laying on her side supported with pillows and bolsters. No deep pressure is used in the legs due to an increased risk of blood clots, but a pregnant woman can withstand a modest amount of pressure in the back, neck and shoulders to help relieve tension. Semi-reclining is also an option for late term pregnacy massage. Massage during pregnancy is very beneficial for healthy pregnancies.


Research studies suggest that pregnancy massage may help to:

- promote relaxation

- help alleviate muscle and joint pain

- improve breathing and digestion

- improve health of mom and baby by reducing the negative effects of stess

- help mom feel in touch with herself and her baby

- contribute to shorter easier labors

- decrease swelling with lymphatic massage

- prepares and tones birthing muscles

- reduce neck and back pain

- offers emotional support


Effects of Stress on Fetal Development:

- Preterm labor

- Low birth weight

- High blood pressure

- Cognitive delays

- Neuromotor delays

- Behavioral problems

- Slowed brain development

- Obesity later in life Diabetes later in life

- Hypersensitivity

- Cleft lip and cleft palate 

A woman who is under an extreme amount of stress whether through life circumstances or otherwise should talk to her doctor first to make sure her growing baby is healthy and developing normally. Massage reduces stress and decreases anxiety during pregnancy. 

(source- Elain Stillerman: Prenatal Massage, a textbook of Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum Bodywork)


Postpartum Massage

- quicker recovery time

- ease strain on muscles used during labor

- ease back pain associated with breast feeding

- hormone regulation

- helps with postpartum depression

- decreases swelling

- improves quality of sleep


Infant Massage

- encourages healthy bond between caregivers and baby through touch

- helps baby sleep better

- helps baby feel loved

- helps digestions

- relaxes parents

- sensory stimulation

- eases common discomforts naturally

- parents learn to respond to baby's cues. 

- improves muscle tone

- stimulates all the systems of the body


Role of Massage Therapist: 

- support

- facilitate

- educate

- listen

- provide safe space for mother and baby

- massage therapist does not perform spinal manipulations- soft tissue only

- work within scope of practice - not a replacement for primary care from midwife or MD


General Contraindications (would require healthcare provider release before proceeding with massage)

- multiples greater than 2 

- high blood pressure

- IVF pregnancy

- endocrine disorders

- gestational diabetes

- history of miscarriage


When massage is absolutely contraindicated: 

- bleeding or staining

- premature labor

- pitting edema

- spike in blood pressure

- placenta previa

- abruptio placenta

- fetal movement not felt for 8-10 hours

- ectopic pregnancy

- sever abdominal pain

- throbbing or migraine headaches



The owner of Tree of Life, Chrystal Copelandis a trained Bodyworker for the Childbearing Year through Kate Jordan Seminars. She has been practicing massage since 2009 with Dr. Karen Genter, DC of High Desert Chiropractic and Wellness. 


Additional Resources: 


Study on late term pregnancy massage and the effects of pain during labor


Article on massage and the effects of pain during labor for first time mothers


Tiffany Field Study on Pregnancy Massage


PDF on Massage Therapy and the Effects of Pain


Liddle Kidz Foundation


Pregnancy Massage During the First Trimester


Infant Pain Management


World Health Article on Postpartum Depression


Benefits of Infant Massage for Women with Postnatal Depression


Postpartum Massage for Cesarean Mothers

Physician, Midwife, and Nurse Information (or for those who just love research and like to be "in the know")

January 4, 2019

February 16, 2016

February 5, 2016

November 10, 2015

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