Most of us know that a massage feels great, however, the scientific evidence tells us that regular massage during pregnancy is so much more than a nice feeling, it has some pretty awesome benefits, and not just for the pregnant woman, but the baby too…. 

As a registered health professional, evidence-based practice is really important to me. We live in a world where we are always learning, things evolve and change as new research and evidence comes to light. A recent systematic review looked into the effects, side effects and contraindications for relaxation massages during pregnancy. They looked at a multitude of evidence from over 1000 studies and then carefully selected 12 randomised control trials to review.  

The review highlights some amazing evidence to support the use of massage during pregnancy. Reassuringly, they found that massage during pregnancy is safe, when completed using precautions and adaptations (see my previous blog post about how a pregnancy massage is different from a regular massage).  


The review looked at regular prenatal relaxation massages. It found that moderate pressure massage 5-10 times during pregnancy by a professional therapist or partner: 

  • Reduced back pain, muscle cramps, and headaches 
  • Improved mood 
  • Calmer and deeper sleep 
  • Noradrenaline levels were reduced 
  • Had a positive cumulative effect on the immune system 
  • Had more positive effects than other relaxation techniques 
  • May have positive effects on fetal development and growth, reducing prematurity and pregnancy complications, but more research is needed. 

This next finding warrants a paragraph of its own: 

  • Depressed pregnant women who received regular massage reported lower depression and anxiety levels. The reduction was comparable to treatment with antidepressants or cognitive therapy and had fewer side effects. Wow!  
  • The baby’s born to the depressed mothers who received massages had lower cortisol levels and scored better on behavioural and neurological tests than newborns of depressed mothers who had not received massages. Double wow!  

This really shows how beneficial massages can be for both mum and baby and is the reason that I am so passionate about this treatment. My whole career has been all about getting babies off to the best possible start in life, now I can incorporate massage into one of the ways I can encourage this, unfortunately not on the NHS, although I wish it was. For those of you with private health insurance, it is worth checking your policy, you may well be able to claim the price of your treatments back. If you are interested in booking a series of regular massages during your pregnancy, make sure your check out the packages on offer.

Side effects

In terms of side effects, the reviewers found that: 

  • In women with uncomplicated pregnancies only tiredness was reported as a side effect.  
  • There were fewer obstetric complications in women who received regular massages.  
  • There were fewer neonatal complications in the babies of women who had received massages 
  • No mother or child incurred physical harm from massage treatment 

If you were unsure about booking a pregnancy massage before now, hopefully this evidence reassures you and even encourages you to go ahead. If you can’t book with me straight away, show this evidence to your partner and give them a nudge to get massaging you! I also offer gift vouchers which make a lovely baby shower or maternity leave gift for pregnancy women living in Norwich, Norfolk Broadland and South Norfolk.

If you are still unsure or want to know more about the treatments I offer, please book a FREE consultation and we can chat though any questions you might have.  


You can read the full article here:  

doi: 10.3390/jcm10163485 

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