Foot Massage While Pregnant and Areas to Avoid

When you are pregnant, not only your tummy increases in size but also your legs and feet can get swollen. You may already know that this swelling usually is associated with an ache and it can get quite intense from time to time. You can get some relief by pressing on pressure points, however, getting a good foot massage while pregnant can be so relaxing.

Keeping that in mind, are there any risks of getting a massage when you are pregnant? We will try to shed some light on foot reflexology while pregnant in this article.

Foot Massage While Pregnant

Many women want to get a foot massage with their pedicure during pregnancy and ease the pain, and as most will find, there are a whole lot of different types for massages available to pregnant women out there.

There is no medical authority approving most of these, and research is inconclusive at the moment, therefore it is not clear whether massages provide any value. Furthermore, there are restrictions for pregnant women in spas, and many physicians also won’t recommend an appointment with a massage therapist.

However, if carried out by a professional and experienced massage therapist, and also in the right way, foot rub can be safe and provides many benefits for pregnant women.

These professionals have to receive specialized training as well as obtain a certificate which proves that they have the right knowledge to know how and where to massage and which areas to avoid while performing it.

Can you get a foot massage while pregnant?

Yes. For good reason, foot massage therapy is the most often suggested alternative treatment for expectant mothers. So, raise your feet and unwind. because you deserve it and are doing a fantastic job caring for that baby.

Benefits of foot massage while pregnant

  • Improved blood circulation
    In general, pregnant women tend to retain higher fluid levels. Besides, a growing uterus and the pressure associated with it contribute to vein compression. When pregnant women get a foot massage, it can bring some relief due to improved blood circulation and releasing some of the pressure upon the veins.
  • Stress and anxiety relief
    A massage is generally accompanied by calming down and feeling peaceful. This is especially valuable to restore mental balance for expectant mothers. Besides, if you are going to be a first-time mother, you may easily develop stress and anxiety about the pregnancy which can pose difficulties in having a healthy delivery.
  • Helps delivery
    Some mothers may be on medication due to the signs of depression they experience as part of pregnancy. Therefore, having regular massages not only can relieve stress and anxiety, but also will boost your mood. It can also contribute to the delivery of a healthy baby.

How to perform foot massage in a proper way when you are pregnant?

Can you get a massage in your third trimester?

When performed by a professional, there are many benefits that you can get from a foot massage in the third trimester. It is also important to utilize the right technique and as well as a massage oil. Accordingly, you can follow this guide below in order to learn how a proper foot massage for pregnant women is performed:

  1. Initially, you need to make sure that both feet, as well as the partner’s hands, have a good amount of oil on them. Having a balanced amount of oil will make it easier to perform the massage.
  2. Your partner can start massaging from the toes to the ankle while applying gentle pressure. This step can be performed for around 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Once the first step is completed, you can continue upwards from the ankle. While massaging, make sure that your partner used both hands to massage as many areas of the legs and calves as they can while focusing on the area from the ankle to the knee. Make sure to always retain the steady pressure and keep broad strokes continuing from the ankle up to the knee. Also, the movement should be performed in a non-stop motion. Keep performing the movement for 10 minutes.
  4. Now the final stage. Your partner needs to focus on the area from the knee up to the thigh. Also, make sure that you always keep adding more oil as it gets dry and to keep the massaged area lubricated. While keeping the balanced pressure for both hands, be a little careful. Since thigh has a relatively larger surface area to be massaged, start massaging lateral sections and then continue with the vertical ones. Doing this will make sure that you cover the whole leg while bringing relief. This step should be done about 5 to 8 minutes long. 
    And that’s it! Continue with the other leg and repeat daily as needed.

Where to avoid foot massage during pregnancy?

You must absolutely avoid the reflexology zones immediately associated to the uterus and ovaries, which are located on the inner and outside of both ankles in the hollow areas right under the ankle bones, during pregnancy.

Pregnancy foot massage risks:

While a foot massage when you are pregnant can bring you a lot of relief, it also associates with some risks you should consider beforehand. Please bear in mind these possible risks of foot massage:

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
    If the blood clots within the more inner lying veins of your legs, a condition called Depp Vein Thrombosis can form and is considered a medical emergency.  As a result, the legs get swollen and usually associated with intense pain. These clots pose a danger of embolizing, or detaching from its original location and traveling the bloodstream into a person’s heart and/or lungs.
    Therefore, if you are at risk of DVTs, having a foot massage while being pregnant is not advised. The vigorous motion of the massage can physically cause a blood clot to loosen, potentially causing heart attacks or strokes if it reaches the heart or lungs and blocks the blood flow.
  • Pitting Edema
    Pregnancies often associated with swelling which is called edema. It is a normal part of the process as it is being caused by the increasing size of the uterus as well as hormonal changes in the body. These changes, in turn, make an impact on normal blood circulation by affecting the veins.
    Although massage brings relief while reducing the swelling, you need to be very careful. If the applied pressure causes a pit, this generally indicates pitting edema. If observed, you need to immediately seek medical attention as it could mean the presence of DVT.
  • Pregnant areas to avoid when massaging
    If you are pregnant and want to have a foot massage, then you should keep in mind the following areas of your legs, and pressure points which should be avoided during the massage:
      • SP6 Acupressure Point: this point stimulates the lower abdomen, and therefore is not beneficial for pregnant women. The location of this acupressure point is on the inner ankle section above the inner ankle bone.
      • Urinary bladder 60: You can locate the point behind the ankle bone on the outside. The exact point is between the Achilles tendon and the main bone is to be avoided.
      • Urinary bladder 67: You also need to know the location of this place and avoid touching while massaging.

Can foot massage cause miscarriage?

If performed in the right way and by a professional, a foot massage should not cause miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy provided that all risks are taken into account.

If you want to have a good relaxation when you are pregnant, then a foot massage is quite a great way to go. Pregnant women having a regular reflexology foot massage, while avoiding areas that cause risks, can improve good mental health and as well as physical balance while relieving stress and anxiety of pregnancy.

Reflexology & Pregnancy

According to the reflexology principle, by massaging certain areas on your feet and as well as your hands, you can influence the other areas and organs in your body.

However, please note that you need to consult your doctor at all times before applying to any reflexology treatments. Also, it’s better to know how much experience does your reflexologist has with pregnant women.

Can A Foot Massage Induce Labor?

By getting a certain type of foot massage, pregnant women might get stimulated to labor, which requires no medication and drugs. Yet, before beginning any physical treatment, you might better consult your physician just to stay on the safer side.

Today, alternative medicine, such as acupressure, is preferred by many expectant mothers to help them induce labor. According to acupressure practitioners, certain points on your body can be massaged in order to induce labor when you are at the end of the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

Pregnant Pressure Points On Feet To Induce Labor

Bladder 60 point is a pressure point on the ankle to induce labor

pregnant pressure points

This point is called Kunlun, and located on the foot. You can locate the area between your ankle and the Achilles tendon. Along with heal obstruction, it is also used to induce labor and as well as relieve the pain.

All you need to do is to apply a light pressure to the point by using your thumb and keep massaging for a few minutes.

Bladder 67 point

foot massage to induce labor

So-called Zhiyin, you can locate this acupressure point near the edge of your nail, next to your pinky toe. According to the practitioners, the point can be used to stimulate contractions while turning the fetus.

All you need is to use your index and thumb finger and press on the bladder 67 points to start inducing the labor. It should feel as if you are pinching the toe.

Where Not To Massage A Pregnant Woman Feet?

The reflexology areas and ovaries: the first one is directly connected to the uterus, while the latter is located on the inside and outside of both ankles in the hollow areas just under the ankle bones.

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