Why Do Pregnant Women Rub Their Belly & What It Means

A Pregnant Woman Rubbing Her Belly – What Does It Mean?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Many women tend to rub, pat, touch, or massage their bellies while pregnant as a way to feel close to their babies. If you’re pregnant and can’t keep your hands off of your growing baby bump, then you must be wondering whether or not it’s okay for you to keep rubbing your belly. Rubbing the belly while pregnant makes a woman feel good instantly as she feels that she is communicating with her baby, but is it okay to do so? Let’s find out!

Why Does a Woman Rub Her Belly When Pregnant?

Touch is one of the best ways to connect with an unborn child. It is very natural and common for a pregnant woman to constantly touch her belly as it is comforting, and rubbing and stroking the belly may even soothe the baby when the baby is moving or kicking too much. Another reason why a pregnant woman may rub her belly is because of skin irritation. As the pregnancy bump increases in size, the skin stretches making it tighter. This may make a pregnant woman a tad bit uncomfortable; therefore, rubbing may help in easing such pregnancy woes.

What Does It Indicate When a Pregnant Woman Rubs Her Stomach?

Rubbing or holding the belly while pregnant is very normal and common for the expectant mommies, and it may mean different things to different women. Where some women may rub their bellies to soothe the tiny ripples going inside their bellies, others may do it to ease their discomfort. It’s an unsaid language of love and communication between a mother and her unborn baby. However, it may become a cause of concern if a pregnant woman holds her belly because of some pain. If any such situation arises where a pregnant woman experiences any kind of discomfort or pain, it is advisable to seek medical assistance at once to avoid any kind of fatal complications.

Can Your Baby Tell You When to Rub Your Belly?

While your baby cannot tell you when you should rub your belly, he may let you know that he is enjoying it by moving in your belly or kicking your belly. As a mom-to-be, you might wonder if your baby enjoys it when you rub your belly. The answer to this is that if you can feel your baby twisting and turning inside your belly, chances are that he might be doing so because he can feel your touch and is probably enjoying it. On days when your baby moves too much or kicks a lot in your tummy, your soothing strokes may even help calm him. But there’s no research to prove that a baby enjoys when the mother rubs the belly!

Can Pressing Your Belly Lead to a Miscarriage?

Abdominal contacts during pregnancy are usually harmless, which means that doing household chores and handling pets at home may not pose a threat to your pregnant belly. While pregnant, you must take due precautions to keep yourself safe from any kind of abdominal trauma as it may sometimes lead to a miscarriage. Being hit on the abdomen, a fall, and other such injuries may not lead to a miscarriage, but may result in placental abruptions. In case these abruptions happen during the second or third trimester, it may result in a miscarriage.

Can Pressing Your Belly Lead to a Miscarriage?

Does Rubbing the Pregnant Belly Feel Good?

Apart from feeling connected with the baby inside the womb, rubbing the belly is a great way to relax during pregnancy. Massaging the belly, using a good massage oil or lotion is a great idea. Many women use ointments or creams to soothe their dry and stretchy abdominal skin and to prevent the occurrence of stretch marks. However, there is not much conclusive evidence of using creams and ointments to reduce stretch marks. Nevertheless, rubbing the belly during pregnancy can be relaxing. Apart from feeling great, it can also make the skin soft and supple. Aroma oils such as lavender, ylang-ylang, and other such oils can be mixed with any carrier oil and used for massaging the belly. You can also ask your partner to give you a gentle massage; it’s a great way to help him bond with the baby!

How to Rub Your Belly in the Correct Way

Massaging the belly during pregnancy may help you relax, induce better sleep, and may even help in improving blood circulation in the abdominal region. However, you may want to avoid massaging your belly during the first trimester as it can worsen your nausea or morning sickness. There are many benefits of rubbing your pregnant belly; however, the trick is to do it correctly. Here’s how you can massage your pregnant belly the right way:

  • The first step is choosing a good oil or cream. Choose one with vitamin E or you can use any good essential oil. Use a carrier oil when using essential oils for massaging. If in doubt get in touch with your midwife or doctor to know what kind of oil you should use.
  • Use gentle and soft strokes as you take your hands around your belly region. Refrain from using firmer or hard strikes around your pelvis.
  • Start massaging from the sides as you gently guide your hands towards your belly button. Use small circular strokes as you make small ‘O’s and ‘C’ with your palms.
  • Keep a tab on your breathing pattern to get the maximum benefit from massage. Take slow and deep breaths and feel as if you and your baby are in sync with each other. Try and imagine yourself holding your little bundle of joy in your arms as you caress your baby bump while massaging.
  • If your partner helps you in massaging, make sure you lie down on your side. Use pillows to support your bump and knees for maximum comfort. You can sit upright too for the massage.

If you want to connect with your unborn baby or wish to send that little love note to your baby, do it through your gentle and loving touch as it is one of the most powerful tools that will help you stay connected with your baby. Massaging your belly duing pregnancy is also a wonderful way to connect your baby and getting some much needed relief from the dry and itchy skin. Make sure you get in touch with your doctor if you are unsure about which oil or cream to use while massaging your belly. Rubbing your belly may become an unconscious move as your pregnancy progresses, and that is just your instinct to connect with your little one!

Also Read:

Home Remedies to Treat Itching While Pregnant
Using Coconut Oil for Stretch Marks While Pregnant
Reasons for Itching on Stomach in Pregnancy

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Ruchelle has a vast experience working with clients in hospitality, health and wellness, entertainment, real estate, and retail. She aims to utilise her learnings to deliver quality content which will in turn help drive sales and customer engagement.