The safest way to receive massage during pregnancy is in the sidelying position. Sidelying maximizes maternal cardiac function and fetal oxygenation, avoids sinus congestion, reduces uterine ligament strain and avoids increased intrauterine pressure. When sufficiently supported by bolsters and pillows, most women find maximum comfort in the sidelying position.
Lying on the belly can be safe during the first trimester (through week 13) in most normal, uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies. However, to be as safe as possible, we avoid this position during massage for all of our pregnant clients. Any technique used during a “normal,” face down massage, can easily and effectively be modified for the sidelying position.