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Is massage safe during pregnancy?
Q: Is massage safe during pregnancy?
A: Along with the excitement and anticipation that many women feel during pregnancy, it may come with a fair amount of physical tension and emotional stress. It's not uncommon to feel anxious or fearful when your body is undergoing major changes, or as you learn about labor and motherhood.

Massage can be a wonderful way to relieve many of the aches and pains of pregnancy, including backaches, neck stiffness, leg cramps, headaches, edema and foot pain. By helping you release physical and emotional tension, it can also improve your ability to sleep at night.

What's more, massage can increase your flexibility, complement your exercise regimen and provide great preparation for labor. It can boost your energy, too. By improving circulation, it facilitates the delivery of nutrients, the elimination of lactic acid and waste products that can increase fatigue.

Many women find massage a welcome escape from the tensions of daily life, and a good counterbalance to the anxiety that may be triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy.

It's best to choose a massage therapist experienced with pregnancy massage. If you're in the second half of pregnancy, lying on your side is preferable to lying flat on your back. If you remain comfortable and can relax throughout the session, massage is safe and beneficial. So enjoy!

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist