HA-206: Pregnancy Massage

Course Information

Course, prefix, number, & title: HA-206 Pregnancy Massage

Hours (Class, recitation, Laboratory, studio): I hour lecture, 3 hours laboratory; offered in Fall or Spring semester

Credits: 2

Pre-requisites (if any): CPR and First Aid Certification, BI-302, BI-331, HA-101, HA-104; or permission of instructor

Course Description in college catalog:

This course provides in-depth knowledge needed to offer safe and effective massage treatments to pregnant clients. The anatomy and physiology of body changes and complications, benefits, indications, and cautions of pregnancy massage, along with massage techniques, Eastern and Western, for common discomforts during pregnancy are included along with communication, ethical considerations, and documentation. The course also prepares students to give safe and effective massage to women during labor and childbirth as well as during the postpartum period.

Academic programs for which this course serves as a requirement or an elective:

A.A.S. Massage Therapy

General Education Outcomes: Below is a listing of General Education Outcome(s) that this course supports.

  1. Communicate effectively through reading, writing, listening and speaking.

  2. Use analytical reasoning to identify issues or problems and evaluate evidence in order to make informed decisions

Course-specific student learning outcomes:

At the completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in:

Student Learning Outcomes
Course Objectives Learning Outcomes
1. Describe the benefits of prenatal, labor, and postpartum massage a. Describe the stages of pregnancy and the common musculoskeletal, physiological, and psychological changes that are common throughout pregnancy

b. Make informed decisions regarding their pregnant clients experiences and needs
2. Develop an appropriate intake protocol for prenatal and postpartum clients a. Communicate empathically and effectively with pregnant clients

b. Plan appropriate sessions for clients who are pregnant, in labor, or postpartum

c. Document client treatments and care plans
3. Describe the stages of labor and demonstrate safe and effective massage techniques and positioning indicated for labor a. Practice specific massage techniques that address common complaints of pregnancy (e.g., sciatica, low-back pain, leg cramps, edema in the lower extremity, etc.)

b. Perform full-body massage for pregnant or postpartum client (with ability to focus and apply appropriate techniques in common problem areas)
4. Describe common complications that arise during labor along with the proper cautions and contraindications for massage a. Apply appropriate modifications and use precautions for clients with specific conditions to give safe and effective massage

b. Apply appropriate positioning for pregnant clients on a massage table (e.g., side-lying, semi-reclining) and demonstrate competency at giving massage using these positions
5. Discuss the postpartum period: physiological, musculoskeletal, and psychological changes; appropriate massage techniques and positioning; and common complications, cautions, and contraindications a. Apply appropriate modifications and use precautions for clients with specific conditions to give safe and effective massage

b. Apply appropriate positioning for post-partum clients on a massage table (e.g., side-lying, semi-reclining) and demonstrate competency at giving massage using these positions
6. Explain the benefits of massage for infants a. Practice appropriate infant massage methods

b. Teach infant massage to the parents
7. Demonstrate familiarity with various self-care practices a. Practice self-care for the massage therapists

b. Teach self-care practices to pregnant and postpartum clients



Summary of main topics covered in the course:

1-hour lecture component:

  • Discussion of aims and requirements of the course; brief introduction to massage for the childbearing year
  • Benefits of prenatal massage
  • Cautions and contraindications for prenatal massage; discussion of positioning considerations, universal precautions for working in private practice OR hospital setting
  • Overview of musculoskeletal, physiological, and psychological changestrimester by trimester
  • Self-care for pregnant clients
  • Complications and high-risk pregnancies special precautions
  • Discussion on dealing with difficult outcomes: miscarriage and stillbirth
  • The benefits of infant massage
  • Developing an appropriate intake form and protocol for prenatal clients
  • Effective and empathic communication with prenatal clients
  • Final Project for Prenatal Massage business development and marketing

3-hours lab component:

Weeks on campus at QCC

  1. Table set-up and positioning (side-lying, semi-reclining, bolsters, and pillows)
  2. Practice massage in the side-lying position and semi-reclining position
  3. Practice specific techniques for the legs, sacrum, low-back, hips, and gluteal area
  4. Practice specific techniques for the arms, chest, head, and neck
  5. Practice specific techniques for the mid-to-upper back, shoulders, and abdomen
  6. Plan and apply a massage based on a scenario
  7. Practice energetic protocols for high risk clients

Weeks Offsite at NSHS, specifics pending discussion with coordinator

  • Practice specific techniques for massage for the high-risk pregnant client
  • Practice specific techniques for massage during the early and advanced stages of labor
  • Perform Infant massage lessons
  • Practice massage for pregnancy support community (spouses, family, nurses, etc.)

4 hrs /week x 15 weeks = 60 hours


Program-specific outcomes

This course will prepare students with the appropriate knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective massage therapy to women during pregnancy and labor. This course will help prepare massage therapy students to build a successful pregnancy massage practice after graduation.

Students will:

  • Demonstrate a strong foundation in the biological sciences, together with a broad based general education in the liberal arts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and proficiency in the art and science of massage therapy, within a holistic health framework.
  • Comprehend theoretical knowledge of, and apply Eastern and Western massage therapy techniques.
  • Demonstrate understanding of professional issues, including legal and ethical concerns, business practices and the importance of continuing their education throughout their career.

Methods by which student learning will be assessed and evaluated; describe the types of methods to be employed; note whether certain methods are required for all sections:

Methods by which student learning will be evaluated:

Assessment may be done in practical, written, and oral formats. The practical assessment will be ongoing visual assessment by the instructor during lab hours as well as practical exams. The instructor will evaluate the massage based on a rubric in order to ensure consistency in evaluation. The written assessment will consist of written exams (multiple choice, and short answer questions) that will test the students’ knowledge on all of the content from the class lectures and readings. The written exams will focus on testing the students’ knowledge of cautions and contraindications as well as their understanding of the stages of pregnancy and appropriate use of positioning and techniques.

How Your Grade for the course will be calculated:

  • Class Participation (see items within below list): 25%
  • Written Midterm Exam: 25%
  • Practical Midterm Exam: 25%
  • Hospital attendance and participation: 25%

Attendance / preparedness / adequate SOAP note completion at each class/hospital session will be worth 25% of your grade for the course.

Class participation is worth 25% of your grade, and includes each of the following activities, which are worth 20 points each:

  1. Handout #1
  2. Handout #2
  3. Handout #3
  4. Final Project

Academic Integrity policy (department or College):
Academic honesty is expected of all students. Any violation of academic integrity is taken extremely seriously. All assignments and projects must be the original work of the student or teammates. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Any questions regarding academic integrity should be brought to the attention of the instructor. The following is the Queensborough Community College Policy on Academic Integrity: "It is the official policy of the College that all acts or attempted acts that are violations of Academic Integrity be reported to the Office of Student Affairs. At the faculty member's discretion and with the concurrence of the student or students involved, some cases though reported to the Office of Student Affairs may be resolved within the confines of the course and department. The instructor has the authority to adjust the offender's grade as deemed appropriate, including assigning an F to the assignment or exercise or, in more serious cases, an F to the student for the entire course." Read the University's policy on Academic Integrity opens in a new window(PDF).

Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based upon the impact of a disability should contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Science Building, Room S-132, 718-631-6257, to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. You can visit the Services for Students with Disabilities website.

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