On Mother’s Day, I showed my daughters pictures of me when I was pregnant with each of them. I was that pregnant woman rubbing her belly. In EVERY photo.
One would think I was merely trying to show off my baby bump. Perhaps subconsciously, I was also trying to show that I wasn’t fat, just pregnant.
It’s a good theory.
But I also loved the feeling I got while rubbing my pregnant belly each time. I felt closer to my babies. And indeed, there are many benefits of rubbing your pregnant belly. Even for a husband rubbing that baby bump, you’ll see what kind of good it can do for all of you!
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Is it OK to rub your belly while pregnant?
Yes, it’s not only OK, but also it’s encouraged. You can massage or rub your own baby bump. You can also have your husband do so (more on that below). The key is to be gentle and soft with your touch (more on this too further down).
However, you may want to wait until you get past the first 3 months of pregnancy. There’s no harm to the baby, but you may worsen your morning sickness in the first trimester by rubbing your pregnant belly.
When should you start rubbing a pregnant belly?
You should start rubbing that pregnant belly after you’ve gotten through those first 3 months, that tricky first trimester. As mentioned, you could make your morning sickness worse if you do it during the first trimester.
Certainly, you can test this theory as there will be no harm to the baby whatsoever by giving your belly a gentle rub. It can be great if you don’t have trouble with morning sickness.
I’ve written about morning sickness before, so please read up on that because all of us are different here – some women are sick with it all day, some feel like crap in the afternoon or evening, and some never have it.
Additionally, there are benefits of rubbing a pregnant belly once you get into the second trimester. You’ll feel more relaxed and relieve those pesky aches. Massage also helps you sleep better and improves circulation. And, you may feel less anxious and in cheerier spirits overall.
Can baby feel when I rub my tummy?
Now, here is my favorite thing about a pregnant belly rub…your baby’s very first sense developed in the womb is touch. This comes before hearing and sight. With twins in the womb, they will interact and touch each other during the second trimester, which I find just amazing!
Rubbing your pregnant belly, you may feel those little baby parts. That soft, round area is the bottom, while the hard, round area is the head. And the limbs will poke out and eventually kick and flip all-around in you. From about week 18 to week 22, your baby will most certainly feel your touch and feel loved by you.
Do babies like belly rubs in the womb?
Yes, babies love touch. It’s something they cling on to even after birth in that newborn phase. They always want to be held, and you can’t spoil any baby by holding them. This starts right here in your belly.
In the second trimester, babies respond to your touch and are very happy to feel you there. So go ahead and rub that belly gently every chance you get. I certainly did.
It also put my mind at ease because I could feel each of my babies moving and knew they were doing well there.
Does my baby know when their father touches my belly?
Hey dads-to-be! Guess what? Your baby knows you too! Babies can sense touch coming from anyone, whether it’s Mama, Grandma, Grandpa, a nosy stranger at the store, or their daddies.
But they’ll know Dada too because of your voice. They come to recognize these things in the womb and associate the voice with the touch. As such, they love you just as much, and this is where your bond together can begin. It’s an excellent way to bring you all closer together.
How to do a pregnant belly rub?
Since pregnant belly rubs do all kinds of good for everyone, you will likely want to get started in your second trimester and do it daily. So, how do you do it safely?
For starters, you may want to use a safe cream or oil to help your hands move smoothly over the bump. Something moisturizing is an excellent choice since it will also bring relief to itchy skin. If you use any aromatherapy oils, make sure they are safe for you and the baby.
To massage, use gentle strokes to glide softly over your baby bump, molding to your own contours. Don’t ever be too firm!
You should start at the sides of your bump, slowly moving your hands toward the middle, then gradually moving downward and out to the side again. The goal is to glide to feel like one slow, gentle and continuous stroke with your hand.
For a husband rubbing the baby bump, it can help the two of you keep your relationship strong during pregnancy, all while helping him bond with the baby. He can help massage your belly, too, as long as he does so gently.
Should I lie on my back for a pregnant belly rub?
It’s not the best idea to lie flat on your back for long stretches as your belly gets bigger. It can restrict blood flow to you and the baby, so ideally, lie on your left side and support yourself with pillows under the bump and between your knees.
You can also sit upright and lean back on lots of pillows with cushions under your knees. The idea is to get comfortable and relax.
Your husband can be a great pregnant belly rubber in either of these positions. And dads-to-be, if you’re reading this, a great gift for your pregnant wife if you’re trying to figure one out is to send her for a professional pregnancy massage.
However, before you send her to just any spa, make sure the one you send her to offers massages for pregnant women and that the masseuse is experienced with this type of massage.
But ladies, don’t wait around for hubby either. If you’d like to get a professional pregnant massage, go for it. If you have other expecting friends, it can be a fun outing for you all!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.