A massage might seem just the thing to bring relief to pregnant clients’ swollen feet and legs, but there are acupressure points around the lower legs and feet that, when aggressively worked, can bring on contractions. Marie Scalogna-Watkinson, a licensed massage therapist and owner of New York City-based Mama Spa, a prenatal mobile massage spa, is well-versed in prenatal massage and contraindications to prenatal pedicures.

Here, says Scalogna-Watkinson, is what every nail technician should know:

1. Keep the massage pressure very light during the pedicure — even if the client asks for something deeper. Massaging very deeply can potentially induce labor. Avoid any cupping, deep kneading, acupressure (use of thumb), or vigorous massage.

2. Avoid massaging certain areas of the foot and leg. In general, you should avoid the entire inner portion of the lower leg from the inner ankle bone to the inside of the knee. Also avoid working directly in the heel area. Stimulating these areas can potentially induce labor or miscarriage.

3. The best protocol is to do a light massage to the foot (from the arch to toes) and then massage up the leg along the outer portion of the calf. You may apply lotion gently to inside of the inner calf, but do so quickly and carefully.

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