Can massage during pregnancy induce labour?

‘Is it true that massage can induce labour?! If it is and I go over due can you come and massage me to get baby moving?!’

This is what many of my lovely pregnant clients often ask me. There is no hard and fast evidence that massage can induce labour, however there are areas of the body that massage therapists tend to avoid during treatments as there are thoughts that deep and regular, over stimulation of certain points could potentially induce labour…this is not something we want to be responsible for and the reason why you need to make sure your therapist is qualified to deliver pregnancy massage! This will also mean that they know how to safely adapt a massage for your needs during this special time. The position that you lie in, the strokes that are used and specific areas of the body to avoid during pregnancy massage is imperative knowledge for a safe and effective treatment for both you and baby.

Throughout our body we have meridian lines and points. Quite often meridian lines are referred to in complementary therapies such as massage, acupressure and acupuncture. Meridian lines are invisible lines that carry energy around the body, along each line there are points which represent specific areas within the body. When you are in good health and feeling well, your energy flows freely through these lines. If you are unwell these lines become blocked and your body’s systems and organs can be affected.

Below I have listed 3 areas where there are meridian lines and points that many massage therapists and training providers recommend should be avoided during pregnancy massage (especially in the early stages of your pregnancy). There is however conflicting evidence and research on this topic and quite often different therapies have different views on whether or not it is safe to stimulate certain areas of the body during pregnancy.

From my point of view as a massage therapist, It is important to note that light touch and pressure on these areas every now and again will probably no cause harm. Many feel that these points would have to be stimulated deeply and regularly to have any negative effect on the mother and baby, others feel that gentle massage to these areas can be beneficial and increase blood flow for both during pregnancy. However to be on the safe side and for insurance purposes most therapists will avoid the following areas:


  • GB 21: This is short for Gall Bladder 21. A meridian point located in the trapezius muscle in the middle of the shoulder area. Deep massage or over stimulation of this point can create a descending effect on your unborn baby, in other words baby may come before they are ready.


  • Ankles and feet. Around your ankles and feet you also have many meridian lines and points. One of these is along the spleen meridian point and over stimulation of this can have a dilating effect on your cervix.


  • LI 4: This is short for Large Intestine 4. This is the area between your thumb and index finger, this can be located in the webbing between the thumb and finger to be exact. It is thought that by deeply massaging this area during pregnancy could also induce labour.

STOP FREAKING OUT… I mean it, Listen…

So with this in mind does it mean that you should never get a massage again during your pregnancy? ABSOLUTLY NOT! The benefits of massage during your pregnancy are ENORMOUS for both you and your unborn baby, it is just important to be mindful if your massage therapist is qualified to perform a maternity treatment. Remember…these points have to be massaged deeply and regularly to have any kind of effect so yes it is absolutely safe to have a massage and to be extra safe we just avoid work on that area during your treatment…go on, get booked in and relax!


If you would like to book in for a pregnancy massage please contact Hayley for availability. Hayley is fully qualified and insured. Mobile and salon based appointments are available.