Belly massage during pregnancy occurs when the mother, partner or a trained therapist gently massages the mother’s growing bump. As a pregnancy progresses, women can become uncomfortable due to the changes of pregnancy and the strain on the woman’s body. This may mean that the woman ends up holding a lot of tension in her belly and lower back.
A nourishing belly massage is a great way that a mother can relax during her pregnancy but also reduce any pain, reduce discomfort and improve her overall health. Through a nourishing belly massage the woman is able to further connect and bond with her growing baby through touch and being present in the moment.
This blog aims to discuss the benefits of belly massage during pregnancy, explain how to perform a belly massage, discuss some precautions to take as well as highlighting some helpful products to use during your belly massage.
there are many benefits of a nourishing belly massage during pregnancy, including:
- • Reducing the mother’s stress and anxiety: A nourishing belly massage can help to reduce a mother’s stress and anxiety levels through the rhythmic strokes promoting relaxation. This thus, can help the body release of the hormones oxytocin and endorphins, which are essential in helping the mother relax, improving bonding with the baby, reducing anxiety and preparing the body for labour to begin.
- • Improved sleep: A nourishing belly massage, especially just before bed can help relax the mother both physically and emotionally and thus she may be able to fall asleep much easier and have a better nights sleep.
- • Improving blood circulation: When pressure and movement is being applied to the abdomen during a belly massage the mother’s blood circulation can be improved. The increased movement of blood can help the digestive system and overall circulation along with stimulating the lymphatic system, and thus increasing the removal of waste from the body. Furthermore, through a nourishing massage, the abdominal muscles are relaxed, therefore reducing any constriction that the abdominal muscles may be having on nearby blood vessels.
- • Reduces Swelling: Just as the touch and movement helps to move the blood around the body, it also helps to move any excess fluid around the body. This thus encourages the excess fluid to move into the lymphatic system for removal. Therefore, reducing the build up of excess fluid which is also known as swelling.
- • Improves skin elasticity: The improvement in blood circulation, together with the reduction of swelling from a nourishing belly massage during pregnancy can help increase the skins elasticity. The increased circulation can also help the body to increase the production of collagen and elastin, which are two proteins that help keep the skin elastic and healthy. Furthermore, the use of pregnancy safe oils and moisturisers can help to hydrate and nourish the skin, further enhancing the skin’s elasticity.
- • Improves stretch marks: The increased skin elasticity along with the increased moisturisation of the skin during a belly massage, can help to make the skin more supple and therefore less prone to tearing.
- • Improved bonding with the baby: When a mother massages her belly, she may begin to feel more connected to her baby, both physically and emotionally. There is also some evidence to suggest that babies are able to respond to touch whilst they are still in the womb. Therefore, suggesting that a nourishing belly massage during pregnancy can not only help the mother to feel more connected to the growing baby, but it can also help the mother communicate with the baby through touch.
- • Improves the mother’s connection with the baby’s movements: As the mother feels more connected to her baby, she may also become more aware of her baby’s normal pattern of movement. Therefore, she may be able to detect any changes in her baby’s normal movements more easily and therefore seek help sooner rather than later.
- • Relieves muscle tension: A nourishing belly massage can help to relieve any tension in the mother’s abdomen, lower back and pelvis that may be caused by the weight of the growing baby. Massaging these muscles can help to improve the blood flow to the muscles, as well as helping to reduce continued strain on the muscles.
tips for performing nourishing belly massage
You might be thinking when should I do a belly massage? There is no right or wrong time to perform your belly massage!! You can perform a nourishing belly massage at any time that suits you, however I recommend doing a belly massage just before going to bed. This is because the belly massage can help you relax, both physically and emotionally, and therefore doing a belly massage before bed can help you sleep better.
There are some precautions you should take when performing a belly massage and it is important to always consult your healthcare provider before performing a belly massage, to consider your own specific medical history.
It is essential to always use pregnancy safe massage oil or moisturising cream, that way you know that you aren’t using any harmful chemicals that may have negative effects on your growing baby. When you are performing your pregnancy belly massage, do not apply any deep pressure to avoid any harm to your growing baby or the placenta. Always use light and gentle strokes.
Finally, if you experience any discomfort during your belly massage it is imperative that you stop the massage immediately. If the pain persists after stopping the massage, call your healthcare professional immediately.
When looking for products to use in your nourishing belly massage, it is essential to look for a hydrating belly oil or moisturiser that are pregnancy approved, such as the b.box body nourish body + bath oil or the hydrate all over body lotion. It is important that you are using products that are all natural and approved for pregnancy, so that you know your baby isn’t being exposed to any harmful chemicals. The b.box body range are a great option for your belly massage as they are all natural, vegan friendly, cruelty free and Australian made.
benefits of using oil for belly massage during pregnancy
Using oil for your belly massage during pregnancy is a great way to maximise the benefits to both your health and bonding with your baby. Using oil can help keep the skin moisturised and supple thus reducing stretch marks, skin dryness, itching and irritation of the skin.
All while improving your blood circulation, reducing swelling, reducing your stress and anxiety levels and bonding with your baby through your relaxing massage.
tips for applying oil for belly massage
When you are planning on starting your belly massage, try to make sure that you have everything you need close by before you start so that you are able to try and relax as best as you can. Here are some tips on how to apply your pregnancy safe oil for your belly massage:
- 1. It is important that the oil you are using is all natural, doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and is approved as pregnancy safe. Try to use B.Box body’s Nourish Body and Bath Oil or the Hydrate all over body lotion as these are all natural, vegan, made in Australia and approved as safe for use in pregnancy.
- 2. Find a comfortable position to sit or lie in, this will make sure that you are able to relax as much as possible and help reduce any strains in your body. You may lie on a towel if you would like to protect your furniture from getting any oil on it. It is important that you do not lie flat on your back after 28 weeks of gestation, instead place a few pillows behind your back or lie slightly tilted to the side. This will ensure that you aren’t compromising your bloody flow to your baby.
- 3. Gently warm up the oil before using it, this will make it easier to spread on your belly and the warmth of the oil can help to relax your muscles. Therefore, providing you with maximum benefit from your belly massage. It is important to make sure that the oil is not hot so that you do not burn yourself accidentally. To warm the oil, you can gently place the bottle into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
- 4. Gently apply the oil by pouring a small amount of oil into your hands, rubbing your hands together and then rubbing it onto your belly in circular motions. It can be helpful to picture that you are massaging your belly like a rainbow, gently stroking from one side to the other.
- 5. Using a clockwise direction of motion can help encourage your digestion to flow and further promote relaxation.
- 6. It is important that when you are massaging your belly that you are gentle. Your massage should be strokes as if you are petting a cat, slow rhythmical and gentle. You should be focusing on relaxing, rather than on a deep tissue massage. Putting too much pressure on your belly may cause damage to your surrounding tissues or your baby.
- 7. Once you have massaged your belly you can move to massaging your lower back. As your pregnancy grows it is going to place increased strain and pressure on your lower back, which can make it quite sore. By focusing on your lower back you may help relieve any discomfort from your growing bump. Your massage on your back should still be in small circular motions in a clockwise direction.
- 8. Make sure to take your time, try to forget your worries and think about each stroke and how it feels on your belly or your back. Try to be mindful while you are performing your massage so that you are actually able to relax and enjoy the massage. Try to focus on the connection with the baby and feel them gently move and respond when you are performing your belly massage.
- 9. Once you are finished your massage, you can use a towel to rub any of the excess oil off your belly, back and/or hands.
Remember, to always check with your healthcare provider prior to performing any belly massage so that you’re able to discuss your own specific pregnancy and health concerns.
Do you find that you are uncomfortable by the end of a long day? Feeling tired, heavy and sore? A nourishing belly massage may be the answer! Performing a nourishing belly massage is an effective way to help you relax, help to relieve discomforts of your growing bump, help to improve blood flow, reduce swelling and improve your digestion.
Plus, you will get the added bonus of feeling connected to your baby as your baby gently responds to your every touch. Therefore, leading to increased bonding and connection between the mum and the baby.
Making sure that you are prepared for your massage prior to commencing by having your pregnancy safe oil or moisturiser close by and warmed up, finding a comfortable position to sit or lie (keeping in mind not to lie flat on your back after 28 weeks gestation) can help to make your massage more enjoyable and therefore reap the benefits of your belly massage.
Remember, performing your belly massage should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for both you and your baby. Overall, nourishing belly massage is a simple and effective way to support your physical and emotional health during pregnancy. So, grab yourself some B.Box body products, relax, give it a try and see how it can benefit you and your baby!
Written By Lauren Brenton
Endorsed Midwife and Founder of One Mama Midwife Pty Ltd
I’m Loz and I’m an Endorsed Midwife who runs Antenatal Classes in the Sutherland Shire. I have completed a Bachelor of Midwifery and a Master of Midwifery. My favourite area is in the labour ward, this is where you can find me most days. One Mama Midwife came about in the height of Covid in 2020, when so many women were missing out on the chance to have antenatal education. Aimed at empowering you with the tools you require to have the pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey that you want to have, with advice and recommendations you can trust.