How to Massage Your Feet While Pregnant
A pregnant woman’s feet take a lot of abuse. They have to contend with added weight, gravity shifts, cramps, fatigue and swelling. A foot massage relieves the everyday stress on your feet during pregnancy and relaxes your entire body.
The American Pregnancy Association credits prenatal massage with lower anxiety levels, increased cardiovascular health and improved labor outcomes. Though you may not always have a massage therapist, a loving spouse or a dedicated friend available to provide this much-needed attention, even the most pregnant of women can learn to massage her own feet.
Soak your feet (or your whole body) in a warm bath to relax your muscles completely.
Gather your massage tools, and find a comfortable place to sit.
Extend each leg, one at a time. Slowly rotate your foot clockwise four times then counter-clockwise four times to relax your feet and loosen your joints.
If You Can Comfortably Reach Your Feet
Starting at the ball of your foot, rub small circles with your thumb. Continue down the outside of your foot toward your heel.
Grasp each toe between your thumb and forefinger, gently rotating it in circles. Squeeze each toe, pulling your fingers toward the tips. The pressure points at the tips of the toes can help relieve headaches and stimulate brain function.
With the palm of your hand, apply circular pressure to the arch of your foot.
Cup your heel in one hand, and massage it with your thumb and fingers, rubbing small circles with your thumb.
Lightly pinch your heel on either side of your Achilles tendon. Stroke upward and downward.
End by moving your hands with long, gliding strokes down the top and bottom of your foot toward your toes.
If You Cannot Comfortably Reach Your Feet
Place your foot on the floor. Lift your heel, and press the first knuckles of all your toes into the floor. Repeat once more, then switch feet.
Curl up your toes like an inchworm until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Repeat once more, then switch feet.
Line up your feet so that the balls of your feet and your heels touch. Maternal Fitness says to rotate both feet outward so that an “O” shape is created between your feet. Repeat once more.
Slowly roll your foot back and forth on a foot massage roller, a broom handle or a tennis ball.
Tips & Warnings
- Massage your feet and lower legs using upward strokes to help relieve swelling in these areas.
- Use a lotion or massage oil to help your fingers glide easily over your muscles.
- If you have any concerns about prenatal massage or have a high-risk pregnancy, consult your doctor or midwife before using any massage techniques or exercises. If you choose to get a professional massage during pregnancy, choose a licensed massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage.
- Avoid putting deep pressure on the ankle area, as the ankles contain pressure points that can stimulate uterine contractions.
- The Natural Pregnancy Book says to never directly massage varicose veins, as this could dislodge a blood clot.
- Avoid using essential oils during pregnancy without first consulting a licensed massage therapist.