Massage in your pregnant months has therapeutic effects
on your body and mind. If your partner is doing it
for you it is one way of having him feel involved
in your pregnancy. Massage is not just for labor but
because of the comfort it brings you should have a
massage often enough during pregnancy.
• Massage helps release tension and clears the
• Massage can be comforting
• Massage improves circulation, alleviates digestive
and elimination problems
• Massage helps lessen minor aches and stiff
• Massage is soothing and encourages sleep
As your pregnancy advances, you will need to try
different positions and use pillows for support.
By the fifth month lying on your side with plenty
of pillows around your stomach area and under your
upper legs is advisable. Different techniques involve
different movements and strokes.
• Effleurage is basically a gentle massage
with the fingertips in an up and down or circular
motion on larger surfaces like the back.
• Percussion is chopping in short and quick
movements. This technique should be avoided during
pregnancy. Unless you want it so bad, restrict this
method to your legs only.
• Petrissage involves grasping and squeezing
to create blood circulation and relaxation of the
• Friction is rubbing in circular motion using
one or more fingers, the thumbs or the heels of
These safety precautions should be adhered to for
your own benefit.
• Do not have a body massage during the first
12 weeks of your pregnancy
• Do not use intense or vigorous strokes especially
on key areas such as abdomen, inner thigh and groin.
• Do not apply pressure around the ankle areas
because these points relate to the ovaries and the
• Do not use any essential oils in any form
in the first trimester. Consult a qualified aromatherapist
on what is suitable for use during pregnancy before
even using the pre-mixed blends
• Do not massage on varicose or spider veins
• Do not lie on your back in late pregnancy
Essential oils are extracted from plants. They have
a soothing effect on the mind and body because of
its relaxing or energizing properties. However because
of its chemical content some oils should be totally
avoided and those which can be used during pregnancy
must be mixed with a carrier oil or water in the correct
proportion. Avoid essential oils in the first 3 months
of pregnancy. Do a patch test on your arm to check
for skin reactions. If you have any doubts consult
a qualified aromatherapist.
oils to Use
• After the first trimester citrus oils in a
burner to uplift moods and for rejuvenation
• From week 24 chamomile oil for relaxation
• From week 28 lavender oil for relaxation and
• In the final weeks neroli oil for insomnia
• Mix 5 drops of essential oil with 25 ml of
carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil
Essentials oils to Avoid
• During pregnancy avoid cajuput, cinnamon leaf,
clary sage, fennel, jasmine, lavender to name a few
• Before 28 weeks, myrrh, rosemary, sweet marjoram
• If you have high BP rosemary and thyme
• If you have allergy, asthma or eczema wheatgerm
or nut oils
Some Massage Techniques
If you don't have time for a whole body massage, don't
hurry the movements but focus on few areas instead.
Leg and ankle massage are excellent for helping the
mother deal with edema. Some steps to follow to realize
the full potential of the massage:
• Sit comfortably with good support to the back
and legs like a good massage chair or a comfortable
chair with a foot stool. Your partner should apply
gentle but firm pressure for 3-5 times using both
the thumb pads on the upper shin area.
• Move down the leg; support one foot with one
hand and use the other hand to do the massage work.
Again using the thumb pad on the ankle bone, apply
gentle but firm pressure for about the same number
of times as above.
• Move down to the toes. Your partner will support
one foot and take the little toe between his index
finger and thumb. He will gently squeeze and pull
in a downward movement rotating the toe a little.
Repeat this with each toe. Repeat these steps with
the other leg from the shin to the toes. Finish off
with your partner holding your feet gently for about
Neck and lower back are often the weakest area and
most prone to aches. Muscle tension tends to build
easily culminating to stiff shoulders and backache.
• In all back massages the stroke is on the
up mode. The massage will begin from the bottom of
the back to the top. Your partner will glide his hands
up the back gently but firmly (effleurage), across
the shoulders and return to the starting position.
Repeat this couple of times. He can next work up the
back with small circles (friction) using his finger
pads in opposite directions until your partner reaches
the shoulder area. Repeat the sequence few times.
• Next, your partner will bring his hands gently
down to your shoulders; then with his thumb pads on
the neck muscles and the finger pads over the front
of the shoulders, he will begin to squeeze the shoulder
muscles between the heels of the hands and fingers
(petrissage), working outwards towards the tops of
the arms and then back in. This can be repeated a
When and Where
Focus on areas other than the bump. Massages done
on the abdomen should be feather light strokes
First trimester -
Head or face massage to ease the headaches away and
help relax facial muscles. Avoid body massage
Second trimester -
Since indigestion and insomnia are common, massage
of the back, shoulders and buttocks will help to relax
those tight muscles and induce sleep. Strokes on the
abdomen can be done at this stage but should be light
Third trimester -
The back, neck, shoulders and the legs are troublesome
areas. Focus on these parts to feel the comfort. Leg
massage will help reduce water retention and relieve
the 'heavy leg' feeling you are most prone to during
the final weeks.