Can You Use a Massage Chair During Pregnancy?

 Lisa Smiley Profile Photo
By Dr. Lisa Smiley | Updated on Dec 8, 2023
Image for article Can You Use a Massage Chair During Pregnancy?

Massages during pregnancy can help alleviate aches and pains, reduce stress, improve relaxation 1 , and reduce depression 2 . Massage chairs are generally safe to use during uncomplicated pregnancies as long as you’re using them as intended, and they can be a helpful alternative to seeing a licensed prenatal massage therapist. 

It’s best to get your healthcare provider’s approval for massage, especially if you have any swelling of your legs or varicose veins, preeclampsia, diabetes, history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a high-risk pregnancy 3 

For uncomplicated pregnancies, side effects of massage can include temporary soreness, tiredness, headache, or dizziness 1 , so stop if you feel uncomfortable. There currently isn’t evidence to support that certain acupressure points can induce labor 4 ; even so, massage chairs typically don’t apply lasting pressure to one area. Because pregnancy is a risk factor for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) 5 , avoid strong, deep pressure on massage of the legs or arms.

If the reason you want to use a massage chair is new onset intermittent back pain, keep in mind that this can be a sign of labor. Call your healthcare provider to rule out preterm labor.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

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  1. Stephanie M. Mueller, Martin Grunwald"Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials"MDPI, vol. 10, no. 16Aug 10, 2021https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8396946/.

  2. Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Lissette Medina, Jeannette Delgado, Andrea Hernandez"Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity"Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 16, no. 2Sep 23, 2023, pp. 204-209https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22464118/.

  3. "Prenatal Massage Therapy"https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/prenatal-massage/.

  4. Shahnaz Torkzahrani, Fatemeh Mahmoudikohani, Kiarash Saatchi, Reyhaneh Sefidkar, Mojdeh Banaei "The effect of acupressure on the initiation of labor: A randomized controlled trial"ScienceDirect, vol. 30, no. 1Feb 1, 2017, pp. 46-50https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27444642/.

  5. Paola Deviscorresponding and M. Grace Knuttinen"Deep venous thrombosis in pregnancy", vol. 7, no. 3Dec 21, 2017https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778511/.


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Updated on Dec 8, 2023

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Can You Use a Massage Chair During Pregnancy?

 Lisa Smiley Profile Photo
By Dr. Lisa Smiley | Updated on Dec 8, 2023
Image for article Can You Use a Massage Chair During Pregnancy?

Massages during pregnancy can help alleviate aches and pains, reduce stress, improve relaxation 1 , and reduce depression 2 . Massage chairs are generally safe to use during uncomplicated pregnancies as long as you’re using them as intended, and they can be a helpful alternative to seeing a licensed prenatal massage therapist. 

It’s best to get your healthcare provider’s approval for massage, especially if you have any swelling of your legs or varicose veins, preeclampsia, diabetes, history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a high-risk pregnancy 3 

For uncomplicated pregnancies, side effects of massage can include temporary soreness, tiredness, headache, or dizziness 1 , so stop if you feel uncomfortable. There currently isn’t evidence to support that certain acupressure points can induce labor 4 ; even so, massage chairs typically don’t apply lasting pressure to one area. Because pregnancy is a risk factor for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) 5 , avoid strong, deep pressure on massage of the legs or arms.

If the reason you want to use a massage chair is new onset intermittent back pain, keep in mind that this can be a sign of labor. Call your healthcare provider to rule out preterm labor.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

Want evidence-based health & wellness advice for fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum delivered to your inbox?

Your privacy is important to us. By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

Expectful uses only high-quality sources, including academic research institutions, medical associations, and subject matter experts.

  1. Stephanie M. Mueller, Martin Grunwald"Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials"MDPI, vol. 10, no. 16Aug 10, 2021https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8396946/.

  2. Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Lissette Medina, Jeannette Delgado, Andrea Hernandez"Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity"Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol. 16, no. 2Sep 23, 2023, pp. 204-209https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22464118/.

  3. "Prenatal Massage Therapy"https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/prenatal-massage/.

  4. Shahnaz Torkzahrani, Fatemeh Mahmoudikohani, Kiarash Saatchi, Reyhaneh Sefidkar, Mojdeh Banaei "The effect of acupressure on the initiation of labor: A randomized controlled trial"ScienceDirect, vol. 30, no. 1Feb 1, 2017, pp. 46-50https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27444642/.

  5. Paola Deviscorresponding and M. Grace Knuttinen"Deep venous thrombosis in pregnancy", vol. 7, no. 3Dec 21, 2017https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5778511/.


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