Massage and Pregnancy

Benefits of Prenatal and Postnatal Massage

Massage relieves many discomforts experienced during and after pregnancy. This includes such things as:

  • Backaches
  • Hip pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Headaches
  • Pain caused by pelvic instability
  • Rib pain
  • Sore, swollen ankles and feet
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Sciatica like pain
  • Muscle tension and stress
  • Depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.

Pregnancy and post-natal massage has a wonderful effect on mothers. Below is some useful information on how pregnancy massage can help you during this very important time.

Also known as pregnancy massage, prenatal massage can have the following benefits.

Reduces Stress Compounds

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes; some may be stressful and uncomfortable. How a woman handles stress can have a profound effect on her health and the health of her baby.

Pregnancy massage is a perfect way to reduce stress and promote general well-being during the 9-month journey.

Supports the nervous system

Pregnancy massage has a powerful ability to sedate and restore the proper functioning of the nervous system. This occurs through the stimulation of specific receptors located in the deeper layers of the soft tissue region. This information helps to switch the nervous system into “relaxation (or safe) mode”.

Enhances the quality of sleep

Prenatal massage helps soothe and relax nervous tension. This, in turn, helps the mother sleep more easily and deeply.

Most midwives agree that a relaxed mother will have a happier, healthier pregnancy and (possibly) an easier childbirth experience. A study by The Touch Research Institute showed a decrease in anxiety, stress hormones and obstetrical complications in women who received massages regularly during their pregnancies.

Eliminates toxins

Massage helps eliminate waste products (through the lymphatic and circulatory systems). By increasing blood and lymph drainage, waste is eliminated from the mother’s body which helps to combat fatigue.

Specific massage techniques can reduce swelling. Sometimes this swelling is a symptom of oedema, a condition many pregnant women suffer from.

Massage also helps carry away the lactic acid and other cellular waste products that build up in the muscle. Hence massage can also help reduce muscle fatigue.

Aids circulation

Stress on the heart increases greatly during pregnancy as blood flow through the body has to increase by about 30–50%.

By aiding circulation, massage can ease the load on the mother’s heart and it can also help in keeping the blood pressure in check.

Increasing local and general blood circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells of both mother and baby. This means greater vitality and less fatigue for mothers and better nourishment for her growing child.

Reduces Muscle Tightness

Massage provides relief from muscle cramps, spasms, tightness, tension, “knots” and myofascial pain: especially in the lower back, neck, hips and legs. It can also help to alleviate headaches, backaches and sciatic pain.

Massage can also increase muscular flexibility and reduce stress on the weight-bearing joints, which is very helpful during the last trimester and for the birth process.

Postpartum or post-natal massage

After the birth, postpartum massage (also known as post-pregnancy massage) can be used to help the mother regain strength more quickly. It can also ease postpartum stress and can contribute to relieving depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes.

Massage helps support new mothers with the physical and emotional strains of mothering and can help place their body in a more relaxed state in order to rebuild strength. This can do wonders for mothers dealing with the physical and emotional stresses of motherhood.

For Prenatal massage in Melbourne, Inate Health is the place to visit. Our inhouse Remedial Massage Therapists, Mary De Pellegrin and Emma Sugg have a combined 38 years of practical experience. Both Mary and Emma have a particular interest and expertise in pregnancy and postnatal massage, and their aim is to improve the pregnancy experience for their clients.


  • McKay S: Maternal stress and pregnancy outcome, Minneapolis, 1980, ICEA
  • Stillerman, E Prenatal Massage A textbook of Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum Bodywork,
  • Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Hart S, et al: Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy, J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 290:31-38, 1999.

Read more about Mary here:

D.App.Sci. (Naturopathy) D.App.Sci.(Myotherapy)

Mary De Pellegrin has been a practising Remedial Massage Therapist and Naturopath for 30 years. Having graduated from RMIT and Southern School of Natural Therapies, she completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Pregnancy and Postpartum Massage and has worked with many women from preconception through their pregnancy and beyond. She’s worked extensively in private practice for over 30 years and has consulted in the corporate environment for 20 years. Mary is passionate about holistic wellness.

She uses spiritual, mental and physical therapies to improve the health and wellness of her clients.

Mary is a member of ANTA (Australian Natural Therapies Association) and as a requirement of the yearly membership, completes continuing education in her disciplines. She is also a Master Practitioner in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and has completed her Master practitioner training in Hypnosis, and incorporates these disciplines into her practice.

Being a mother of an adult son and daughter, she understands the importance of good quality care and support for mums. Mary recently developed a specific massage and acupressure routine, combined with guided visualisations for birth preparation, especially for women who are 37+ weeks. She also teaches women and their partners on how to use specific pressure points during birth.

Besides performing massage, Mary teaches posture, sleeping, meditation and lifestyle improvements for use both pre and postnatal.