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.