Our prenatal package consists as a package special of the two following courses (Please click on the course name for more detailed information about each individual course):
The Fundamentals of Pregnancy Massage is the first course in the prenatal massage and doula specialty series, and is a pre-requisite to taking the second and third steps in this process. It lays the groundwork by teaching you the cognitive, conceptual aspects of prenatal massage so that you can:
Explain how prenatal massage benefits the mother physically and emotionally
List and describe pregnancy related complications and their symptoms that would contraindicate massage therapy
Describe the physiological changes that take place in each system of a woman’s body during pregnancy, and how each of those changes dictate modifications in a standard massage routine
Successfully market and sell your prenatal and delivery services
Prepare suitable forms to use for release of liability and record-keeping
This course does NOT teach prenatal massage techniques. You will learn that in Step Two. Upon completion of this course, you have the option of taking the next course in the pregnancy massage series, to earn the title of Prenatal Massage Specialist. From there, you also have the option of taking the third course in the series, to earn the title of Massage Doula Specialist.
Table of Contents:
- Benefits of Prenatal Massage
- Research on Prenatal Massage
- Understanding the Trimesters of Pregnancy
- Physiological Changes in Pregnancy
- Reproductive System
- Cardiovascular System
- Respiratory System
- Digestive System
- Renal System
- Integumentary System/Skeletal System
- Endocrine System
- Emotional and Psychological Changes in Pregnancy
- Contraindications for Prenatal Massage
- Diagnosis as High Risk Pregnancy
- Pre-term Labor
- Gestational Diabetes
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Varicose Veins
- Acupuncture/Acupressure Points
- Reflexology in Pregnancy
- Aromatherapy in Pregnancy
- Exercise in Pregnancy
- Marketing Your Services
- Closing the Sale
- Recommended Reading
Once you are ready to move beyond the Step One - Prenatal Fundamentals, your next step is to take this course - Prenatal Massage Techniques (Step Two), worth 12 kinesthetic CEs. In this course you will study our course materials and videos to learn how to perform a full body massage during all three trimesters of pregnancy. You will learn techniques utilizing your forearms and elbows to reduce stress to your hands and thumbs.
This course teaches a side-lying and modified supine positioning, recommended for second and third trimesters. First trimester clients can likely receive massage in the standard prone/supine positioning if they prefer. We do not recommend specialty tables or equipment designed for allowing the woman to lay on her stomach after the first trimester for several reasons: Unless it is perfectly molded to her body, it will cause strain on her uterine ligaments, it is difficult to get in and out of in the final trimester, and makes no provision for a modified supine position (necessary to keep the weight of the uterus off of the vena cava). Therapists who prefer such positioning will need to modify the techniques taught to accommodate the changed position.
- Necessary Equipment
- Trimester Specifics
- Routine in Sidelying and Modified Supine Position
- Recap of Routine
- Adjunct Training Videos
- Perineal Massage
- Postpartum Massage Concerns
- Postpartum Depression
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Define common terminology relating to pregnancy
- Describe the specific considerations for performing prenatal massage during all three trimesters, including positioning, bolstering, and draping
- Perform a full body prenatal massage in all three trimesters
- Explain the effect of episiotomies, explain the benefit of rationale of self-perineal massage practice, and demonstrate perineal massage to help prepare their clients to avoid an episiotomy (NOTE: The therapist does NOT perform perineal massage, and demonstrates using the webbing of their thumb and forefinger to represent the perineal tissue
- Perform a postpartum massage on the uterus and check for a diastasis of the rectus abdominus
- List and explain the risk factors for postpartum depression and recognize symptoms of postpartum depression
View sample video: You can preview samples of video from this massage CEU course, as well as some of our other online courses, by visiting our YouTube site
CERTIFICATION UPDATE posted November 17, 2022. Revised June, 2023: We have been notified that the NCBTMB is no longer allowing approved CE providers to award certification titles without having received third party accreditation, which is not available to CE providers who are not affiliated with a 500 or more hour massage school. As a CE provider, and not an initial massage school, we do not fit in this category, and will have to modify the title awarded upon completion of the optional internship. We had been using the title "Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist", but to stay in compliance with the board rules, the new title will be "Prenatal Massage Specialist". We are working with the board and our website development team to implement the changes in a timely fashion. Students who have already enrolled or enroll within the next few weeks will have a short grace period (exact date unknown at this time) to still earn the certification title. All enrollees, regardless of enrollment date, understand and agree that the title they earn will depend on the date that they submit the internship forms.
Approved by: Institute of Somatic Therapy (Judith Koch) is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #280672-00) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by Florida (#MCE-326), and New York (#0019) for continuing education credits. Our courses are also valid for continuing education requirements for AMTA, ABMP, and most individual states. Some states limit how many hours can be done online or by home study. Please refer to our State Guidelines section for specific information about your state. Laws can and do change, and your state will hold you responsible for knowing the laws that apply to you.
Attention Florida Massage Therapists: Both steps in this package have been approved by Florida as an approved distance learning course for required hours of "relevant to massage therapy" category hours through 8/31/2025. You are still allowed to complete the 12 required "relevant to massage therapy" hours via approved online courses through at least 2025. The approval number for each of the courses in this package are found on their individual course description page.
Canada Massage Therapy approval, acceptance: This course meets requirements for Ontario (CMTO), NHPC in Alberta, and is potentially valid for other Canadian assocations. Please refer to your individual association rules to determine if this course is valid for your Canada massage therapy continuing education requirements.
CE Broker Reporting: Institute of Somatic Therapy will automatically report your hours to CE Broker in applicable states ONLY IF you have provided your license number in your online account with us. You can verify your license information by logging on to our website, and reviewing your account information. If your license is not shown there, please select “edit” to include it.
Tuition: $268 before coupons. To receive a $25 package discount on just this package, use coupon code P25. If enrolling in this package and any one or more other courses at the same time, you may qualify for a better discount by using our "Customize Your Own Package" coupon codes found here. Coupon codes must be entered at the time of enrollment. They are not retroactive. Please note that package specials sales are final, with no refunds. (All amounts are in US Dollars)
Course Format: This course is offered online, available instantly at your convenience. We are not currently offering live seminars.
To enroll: Simply click the green "buy now" button. You will see the course in your shopping cart, with the option to continue shopping (if you want to enroll in more than one course) or checkout. Once you click checkout, it will take you through the process of creating a new account if you do not have one, or logging into an existing account if we find an account already associated with your email address. You do not need to have an existing account before you add a course to your shopping cart.
Do I have to be a licensed massage therapist to take your courses?
While our courses are designed as continuing education for licensed and/or certified massage therapists, a non-licensed person may take them for their personal use. Of course, they may not legally practice without an underlying license if their jurisdiction requires one, as most jurisdictions do. Exceptions to this are courses such as the pregnancy massage and infant massage training. In most jurisdictions, doulas or other prenatal healthcare providers can use the techniques within the scope of their training and authority, such as a doula using some of the prenatal massage techniques during labor and delivery. You cannot, however, hold yourself out to be a prenatal or infant massage specialist without having a massage therapy certification or license.
How to earn the title Prenatal Massage Specialist:
Complete both online courses, Prenatal Massage Fundamentals (Step One) and Prenatal Massage Techniques (Step Two).
Complete required homework: Perform two full-body massage sessions on two different pregnant clients, who must be at least 20 weeks pregnant. Perform one postpartum massage on a postpartum client who is no more than 2 weeks postpartum. The process consists of a self-analysis of your practice sessions. For example, you will answer questions such as: Looking back at your session, what was the best part of the experience? How you can build on that in future sessions? What was the biggest challenge with this massage? What can you do to mitigate this challenge so it is less a problem in the future? What questions did your client have? How can you implement that information into future work? Based on this experience, what are three things you can do better next time?
When you are ready to apply: click the “Begin Process”. There is a one-time $35 processing fee. You will need to follow the steps to pay the $35 fee and submit your forms. Once you submit that to us, we will review it within 1 – 3 business days. You will be notified by email when it has been approved. You will then log back into the course and print your certificate.
Where to access the course if you have already enrolled:
1) Go to www.massagecredits.com, and log in (upper right) with your email address and password. If you have forgotten your password, use the "forgot password" option to have a new password emailed to you.
2) As soon as you are logged in, you will be on your account page. (You can also access your account page any time if you are already logged in by clicking "Manage Account" in the upper right.) Scroll down beyond your account information to a heading titled "Your Courses". To the far right of the course, click "Access Course".
The status will say "incomplete" until you complete the course. At that time, it will update to show "Passed". If you do not complete the course within one year, the access section will change to "Reinstate", at which time you can pay a $35 fee to renew the course for another year. If you don't do that within one year, the course will expire.
To find the homework documentation requirements: There is a PDF located in the course materials, in the PDF section to the right. Just log into your account, click “access course” to the far right of the course title, and then access the course materials. From there, look to the right at the PDF file section. You can refer to this documentation as you are performing the homework. When you are ready, you will complete the online submission process.
Neither the NCBTMB nor any state massage therapy boards make a determination on the awarding of the title of Prenatal Massage Specialist.
FAQ: Why is the prenatal portion broken into two 12-CE courses instead of being a single course? Originally it was a single course, but there are two practical reasons why it was separated it into two segments. First, some jurisdictions changed their rules to only accept cognitive, but not kinesthetic, hours by home study. If the course was still a single 24 CE course, it would all be considered kinesthetic, and massage therapists in those states would not be able to count any of the hours toward their license renewal requirements. By separating the cognitive concepts from the kinesthetics techniques, they are able to count 12 of the total hours toward their CE needs. Secondly, for states with annual CE renewals, or biannual CE renewals that have other mandated requirements such as laws and ethics, many therapists are unable to use all 24 CEs in a single renewal cycle. While education is never “wasted”, many do not like taking more CEs than they can use in a single cycle. It is more convenient for them to be able to split the course into two 12-CE segments, so they can straddle it over two renewal cycles. They can still enroll in the package to receive the volume discount. They can finish the first part in their current renewal cycle and wait on the second part until the start of their next renewal cycle.
FAQ: Is the Prenatal Massage Speciality title valid in my state? Yes, the title you earn from successfully completing this process will be valid as long as you possess any license required in your jurisdiction. If your jurisdiction requires a massage license to practice massage therapy, and you do NOT have the license they require, then, no, our training will not override or supersede any state requirement to have a massage therapy license in order to practice massage in that state.
"This course exceeded my expectations! I am a massage therapist and a paramedic and the information you gave in this course was awesome! I think someone who isn't medically trained will understand and learn a lot from this course. I will be practicing a lot of the new information I learned in this course as pre/post natal massage is my passion. Thanks again." Katelyn Wilson, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“You offered a truly wonderful program. I feel as though I've gained the confidence I need to perform safe and helpful prenatal care! This has been my dream for many years, so thank you, truly.”
Taylor Lauren, Los Angeles, CA
"This course is worth much more but I am glad it did not cost it! I use this information CONSTANTLY and refer back CONSTANTLY. thank you for taking the time to create such a wonderfully useful, educated, course. I have truly and honestly used this material in my daily life since I came across it. Thank YOU and you are more than welcome to share on any platform you wish." Andrea Boltwood, Greenlawn, NY
"I am a certified DONA doula of 6 years, practicing for 8 years, with 18 years massage experience & I am a certified prenatal massage therapist. I absolutely love being able to use what I have learned & what I can discover doing prenatal massage for my doula clients. Not only do I feel that during pregnancy massage can help me to find out more about my clients but how that can ultimately affect our time during labor. There is already a physical comfort between us before labor, so that is so helpful with our connection during that process."
Sincerely, Heather Steele, Mountain Home, ID
"Some women are very active but because they are pregnant many times they have the same issues with the hip,
leg and abdomen. This massage we learned here was so much more effective on helping these areas than one
I was taught formally." Dee Nicovich, Joppa, AL
"I am really super excited to have taken the courses because:
- It is extremely well done. The material is clear, well organized and contains a wealth of information regarding pregnancy. It makes you want to learn more and I truly enjoyed the process.
- It gave me the level of confidence I needed to start building a prenatal massage clientele.
- On top of the basic prenatal chapters, the training offers extremely useful Marketing and Sale advices containing some of the best ideas I've heard so far (I've been in business a little bit over a year) and I can apply them to any massage modality I want to sell.
Thank you again for this great training and for offering the class online!"
Céline F. Consoli, Honolulu, HI
"Having a private massage therapy practice, I have had many inquiries regarding if I offer prenatal. I have always referred these women, as I did not feel confident working on them without being certified. After a few consecutive phone calls, I decided to find out what it would take to become certified and found this wonderful program. At first I was worried that by taking this type of course online, I would be "missing out", and leave it still feeling ill equipped with expectant mothers. I soon discovered that I was quite wrong!
This course is so informative, covering aspects of pregnancy, the birthing process, techniques, draping, even incredible business and marketing tips. I was also amazed to discover that it provides dimensions and directions for having an optimal bolster system made for mothers-to-be. Videos of a routine, links to more helpful videos, and a list reference books were also provided.
Upon starting this course, I thought that I would gain knowledge of how to work on pregnant women, contraindications, how to drape and bolster, and that would pretty much be it. Yet I left this course with so much more, so many extremely helpful ideas of how to be the best, most helpful prenatal massage therapist that can help guide and support women through the pregnancy process.
I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in prenatal massage therapy. It has given me the confidence I was looking for plus so much more!" Rebecca Leaden, New Milford, CT
"Thank you so much. I did not expect to enjoy these courses (prenatal steps one and two) as much as I have. I just purchased the doula class and I'm sure I'll be taking the infant massage course, as well. Thank you so much for helping me grow my business and become more passionate about my craft." Whitney Brown, Bremen, Kentucky
"Thanks for offering this course. I had prenatal training in 2007, and wanted to take this as a re-fresher. I have been providing prenatal massages and I very much appreciate your rational approach to everything, without all of the fear-based info that I received in 2007. It's a very good course." Jacki Sellers, CMT, NCTMB, CMLDT, Aliso Viejo, CA
"Thank you for all of your help with this course. It's an awesome course! I've taken a few other Prenatal massage courses and found yours the most comprehensive. Thanks again." Patti Nebel, Wenonah, NJ
"Thank you for offering this course!!! It was very easy to follow, the information was very thorough, and it was a convenient and more affordable alternative to other prenatal courses. As a licensed massage therapist, I strongly believe in the benefits of prenatal massage - for the mom-to-be and the baby. This course gave me everything I need to confidently incorporate prenatal massage into my practice. I ordered this course along with the Doula course, and am really looking forward to obtaining Doula certification next." K. Jackson, Las Vegas, NV
"Thank you for developing such a wonderful course! My massage office is located within a birth center & I have been giving pre & post natal massage for 6 years now, I LOVE it!! I have read several books and watched a few DVDs on the subject and the information in your workbook & DVD is by far the best. I have learned so much & am so exicted to share this info with my clients. Thanks you." Heather Barber LMT, Palmer, Alaska
"I have been a holistic therapist for the last 27 years and have invested a lot of money in furthering my education. Some courses were worth it...many others weren't. I love the courses you offer not only because there is so much to choose from but also because all is actually applicable! So many times I have taken courses and half of what was being taught had absolutely no relevance. Your courses are of high quality and they are relevant - that's the most important aspect for me. I know I'll be back for more :) Cheers," Gabriela Eikeland, Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada.
Courses Gabriela has taken: Manual Lymph Massage, Prenatal Fundamentals, Prenatal Techniques, Spa Fundamentals, Communicable Diseases
"Thank you for putting Prenatal Massage Certification course together. It was wonderful. I learned so much and realized afresh how much I love massaging mothers-to-be. I look forward to expanding my practice to include prenatal massage. Thank you for all the time, energy, expertise, resources, perseverance and commitment it took for you to produce this course. You have enriched my career and will share in the enrichment I am privileged to pass to my clients. I know being equipped to do prenatal massage will expand and extend my career. Blessings," Susan Valk, Austin, TX
About the Instructor:
Judith Koch Stapleton has been in the massage therapy field since 1991, after taking to heart a book that encourages seeking a career doing something that you love. In her former career, as a sales trainer and manager, she would frequently give her staff neck and shoulder rubs. Always fond of receiving massage herself, she realized this was a career she would love. Once Judith began, it was obvious that this was her niche. Her first discovery was that people like their massage therapist a whole lot better than they like their sales managers. She was hooked.
Less than two years after entering the massage field, three of her regular clients all got pregnant at once. Knowing that they must certainly need massage now more than ever, but having been taught that pregnancy was a contraindication for massage, she decided to fly half way across the country to attend an advanced prenatal, labor and infant massage certification course. She couldn’t believe it -- she found a niche within her niche, and was hooked again, this time getting to watch little miracles happen as icing on the cake. She continued her massage education and achieved national certification status in 1993. Her business continued to grow. An article appeared in the newspaper. The local television news included her in one of their health segments. Massage and Bodywork Quarterly, a national massage association journal, did a story on her. Parenting Magazine did year later. As the years progressed, she has given countless prenatal massages, and attended nearly 100 births. Her mothers maintained an unbelievable average of about four hours of labor, most completely drug free.
Early in her prenatal massage career, Judith started hearing about women called doulas (from the Greek word for “servant”), who helped women during labor. Judith had been relying almost exclusively on massage to assist her clients, and she wanted to see what these non-massage therapists were doing to ease labor. She attended the doula training nearest her, and two months later again flew half-way across the country, this time to take advanced doula training from Penny Simkin, a physical therapist who was instrumental in beginning the doula movement within the United States. There, Judith discovered a range of methods to make the laboring and pushing processes easier. Her certification with Doulas of North America was actually delayed several months because her mothers were having their babies too fast to meet DONA’s minimum five hour labor requirement. Based on her extensive training and experience, she has developed these courses for massage during all stages of pregnancy and delivery, as well as basic infant massage and movement. Isn’t it time you learn how to start watching miracles happen for a living?
To contact the Institute of Somatic Therapy about this or any other massage therapy CEU course, please go to the "contact" link above. Thank you.