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Pregnancy massage courses

For an overview of all that we offer for massage therapists, please visit the introductory page

The next 4 day Pregnancy Massage Diploma course with Suzanne Yates (first day can be taken as foundation day) is London 28th September – 1st October. (Thursday to Sunday).

2018 Bristol 17th to 20th May and London 22-25 November 2018

2017 Glasgow 26th & 27th August and 7th & 8th October 2017 with Lucy Trend


These pages are for pregnancy massage courses for massage therapists. If you are a midwife with a massage qualification, these are the courses for you: otherwise look at  “Shiatsu for Midwives”

Pregnancy massage course prices and dates

For more information about our approach and our teachers and resources, such as books, please visit our home page

Our courses will not only help you to develop your work with maternity clients but you will also find that our approach to massage enhances your work with all  your clients. Many people also find the courses are a powerful healing process for themselves.  The time we all spend in our mother’s womb and our experience of birth and our early childhood forms the base of experience for the rest of our lives. Understanding the impact of this time is fundamental to understanding how we are in the present.

We include option of working on a futon as well as a table, but if you prefer, and especially if you have knee problems, you can stay working on a table.

We include some shiatsu-based skills within our courses, no prior shiatsu knowledge is required to join. If you would like to learn more about shiatsu to integrate into your work you might consider our Shiatsu and maternity care course

The course book is “Pregnancy and Childbirth: an holistic approach to massage and bodywork” written by Suzanne Yates, main course tutor.

Pregnancy massage Diploma: 4 day course 

To specialise in massaging throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy and with higher risk clients. Click here for more detailed information on content

Foundation in pregnancy massage: one day course

Gain a basic understanding of how to work safely and effectively in the second and third trimesters. Click here for more detailed information on content

Testimonials from participants of Massage and Pregnancy diploma course

If you want to contact any previous students, who have completed all the course work, then you are welcome to contact them via the Well Mother register

Sally Lake;  The advanced pregnancy massage course that I undertook transformed my treatments beyond recognition. Through common sense, years of experience an excellent knowledge of ‘all things pregnant’, our tutor, Suzanne Yates,  instantly dispelled any insecurities the class had. The theory was thorough practical work was constructive. Since doing the Well Mother Pregnancy Massage in 2008, I feel much more confident to treat pregnant women. The new pregnancy massage techniques which I learned made my treatments feel more effective ‘complete’

Suzanne’s depth of knowledge made the class enjoyable and fascinating and a complete and opening experience

“I’ve learnt so much from your expertise and phenomenal knowledge I never thought possible.. you have a refreshing view and support in this field which made your teachings a joy”

“..the joy I feel about being able to work with pregnant women in a supportive, confident and holistic way”

Sue Boughton: I attended a Well Mother “Massage and Pregnancy Diploma course” in London, 2004, taught by Suzanne Yates. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and really learnt a lot, learning some basic shiatsu for pregnancy was very interesting and learning how to combine it with my massage skills has been extremely valuable in my work. Suzanne is a great teacher, passionate about women’s health especially maternity care, she has a huge amount of knowledge about shiatsu, massage, exercise and health and this combination helps to make her courses quite unique.

There is quite a lot of reading, research and practical work required for this course but it’s so interesting and valuable it’s really worth while and makes a Well Mother qualification of a high standard.”

Why do I want to study pregnancy massage?

Some therapists think that working with a  pregnant client is simply about adapting techniques. To an extent this is true. However, the body changes hugely in pregnancy and it is important to understand the changes to know how best to massage the client. A key change with a pregnant client is the relative softness of the tissue and the increased blood volume.  Many techniques can be used with only slight modifications especially for the legs and arms. However, if the client has oedema or varicose veins, both of which are fairly common in pregnancy then modifications will need to be made.

Many therapists are often wary of massaging a pregnant abdomen, but in fact most women love it and it can be beneficial. It is important therefore to know how to work safely and effectively with a pregnant abdomen. Benefits of abdominal massage include: supporting the mother, and her partner, to bond with their baby and improving abdominal tone and awareness. It may also help with odema and circulation, constipation and skin issues.

Most pregnant women are essentially healthy but a very small percentage develop life threatening conditions and it is important to be aware and alert to early signs and concerns and to work alongside the primary care provider who is often the midwife.  Often massage can still be beneficial once the emergency phase is over.

Pregnant woman feel more secure in the knowledge that their therapist understands the changes both emotional and physical which they are going through.

What is unique about a Well Mother pregnancy, birth or postnatal massage course?

We believe our programme is one of the most in-depth in the world.

We emphasise tailoring treatments to the needs of each client. As each client and each therapist is unique, we tend to discourage more routine based treatments.

Our unique blend of including some shiatsu based techniques within the massage, and understanding eastern perspectives of pregnancy

We enable you to develop your own style and to feel comfortable working with a range of clients, ranging from those who are enjoying their pregnancies and feel connected to their bodies and their growing baby, to those who are experiencing more difficult issues such as extended nausea and vomiting, pre-eclampsia and placental issues.

Varied content of Well Mother maternity courses

We bring together the most relevant maternity massage techniques and work with a range of different  pregnancy and birth positioning options including floor, table, chair and ball.  We include skills and principles drawn from Chinese/Japanese medicine and shiatsu/acupressure which are suitable for massage therapists.  A key feature is that we include techniques which include working with the baby and how to work the pregnant abdomen.

Excellent support resources during your maternity studies

We not only offer excellent study resources but we offer pre course support to prepare you to get the most out of the courses which are fairly intensive, but very stimulating.  During the course there is plenty of hands on experience including a clinic session with pregnant women (or postnatal or babies depending on the course).  When you have finished the training we support you while you consolidate your work with case studies. We feel this is important to gain experience of working with a range of pregnant women. We support you with Skype tutorials during the case study part of the course.

Support to build and maintain your maternity massage practice

Once you have completed the course, we continue to support you with the Well Mother community, including Facebook and Yahoo groups, newsletters, CPD events and tutorials. You can always discuss issues related to clients with us, through direct email or Skype contact with Suzanne Yates or other Well Mother teachers. We also facilitate one to one supervision sessions and study  groups in your local area.

Well Mother Expertise built since 1990: pioneering maternity massage and shiatsu

We have been building our expertise since 1990, at a time when most therapists were scared of touching a pregnant woman and there were no pregnancy massage courses anywhere in the world!  That fear still remains for many and there are still many myths and misconceptions about working in pregnancy.

Suzanne Yates is considered a pioneer in the maternity bodywork field and the majority of courses are taught by her or include some input from her. She is supported by a team of teachers who are also passionate about maternity work and support the Well Mother ethos.

Our work is valued internationally and we work alongside midwives and other health professionals so that we can constantly enrich and develop our work.

Even if you decide not to specialise in maternity work, we believe understanding the effects of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period on the mother, baby and family can enrich your work with all your clients at all stages of their life.

How to decide which is the best pregnancy massage course for you

What content to look for

  • Pregnancy anatomy and physiology: how much depth is this covered in. What support and resources are  offered to support you in your learning process.
  • Relevant coverage of eastern maternity theory if doing a course which integrates some work with maternity acupressure points
  • Overview of medical antenatal and maternity care offered in your country and any issues arising from that: how to make links with midwifery and obstetric care: primary care giver awareness of issues
  • Pre and post course reading and research: how much expected?
  • Maternity case study work required?
  • Supervised practice working with pregnancy women: what opportunities?
  • Opportunities for self reflection: how do you integrate the new skills into your practice?
  • Support for setting up maternity practice: what support are you given after the course to help you build your practice?

Course reputation

  • Is recognised by any relevant accrediting organisation
  • Is it recognised in the community
  • Feedback from other participants
  • How many participants working in maternity field
  • What opportunities are there for consolidating your knowledge once you have done the course?