If you have a sore back and feel in need of some TLC, a prenatal massage might be the answer…


Pregnancy was a tough ride for first-time mum Karen Kua. Now mum to Lindsay, 2, she recalls all the aches and pains she suffered, especially when she headed into the third trimester.

“I was getting cramps in my calves and my toes almost every night. While they only lasted 1 or 2 minutes, the next day my legs would be aching.”

As her baby got heavier, Kua also started having lower back and pelvic pain, which led to her having to work from home for around six weeks.

During this time, her husband bought her a prenatal spa package for her birthday. The package included an exfoliating body scrub and a Javanese prenatal massage.

“The massage was the best gift because it not only soothed my tired body, but I felt less stressed and anxious,” says Kua. “I also loved the feeling of being pampered!” She adds that she went for another two massages before giving birth.

The rub should not exert pressure on the acupuncture points as this can cause a miscarriage.

Indeed, prenatal massages are a wonderful way to rejuvenate the tired mum-to-be. Valerie De Costa, owner of Nouri Face & Body Concepts, explains that prenatal massages can reduce the pregnant woman’s tension from work, maintain her well-being and improve her mental health.

“We also see that hormonal pigmentation on her body is lightened, stretch marks can be prevented, there is less fluid retention and cramping in the legs, plus it can flush out toxins from the body to reduce heatiness and constipation,” De Costa adds.

Julizah Buang from Luana Therapy adds that “the massage can also stimulate blood circulation, help induce labour, relieve back pain and improve the mum’s posture due to the extra baby weight.”

But prenatal massages have to be performed in a safe manner for both the mum and the baby ― De Costa notes that the rub should not exert pressure on the acupuncture points as this can cause a miscarriage.

As such, it is crucial that you get a trained therapist. “The therapist should understand the baby’s position, and have knowledge about how the blood circulates, as well as the lymphatic system of the body,” Julizah says.

What you must know before you get a prenatal massage:

· Seek medical clearance Check with your gynae if a prenatal massage will be safe for you.

· Ensure that your therapist is certified In addition, the therapist should have adequate experience in treating expectant mums.



The intensity of the prenatal massage depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy. This is what you can expect:

First trimester

As the pregnancy may not be stable, you are advised not to do any massages at this point of your pregnancy, since the risk of miscarriage is higher at this stage.

“During this period, the newly expectant mum may experience morning sickness, lethargy and a lack of appetite as the blood flow is moving downwards to nourish the embryo, so the mum should just get sufficient rest,” De Costa advises.

Once the baby is over 2kg, massaging the mum-to-be is safer, and “it will help the labour go smoothly”.

Second trimester

This is the ideal time to start your prenatal massages. “The techniques administered during this transitional stage will help the mum relieve backache and fluid retention,” says De Costa.

Julizah adds that too much pressure shouldn’t be applied to the leg, hand, shoulder and buttocks areas ― “Only the shoulder blade area can be massaged more firmly,” she says.

Third trimester

Once the baby is over 2kg, massaging the mum-to-be is safer, and “it will help the labour go smoothly”, says Julizah.

De Costa notes expectant mums who have not been going for regular massages before this may feel puffy around the face and body. “Some may be dealing with excruciating pain in the lower back and lower limbs, and many are unaware and can’t feel the pain as the body is congested with toxins and fluid retention.”

As such, the therapist will use more intense massage techniques during the third trimester. The expectant mother will also be advised to go for the weekly massages till she delivers, to ensure a smoother birth.

Photos: iStock

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