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Dry Brushing During Pregnancy: How it Can Help Your Skin and Reduce Your Stress

written by Jen Brady  |  updated October 19, 2022

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Dry brushing may sound like a term that’ll just dry your skin out, and that’s a hard no while your belly starts to stretch to the max.

The fact is, there are many benefits to dry brushing during pregnancy, and it goes beyond improving your skin. One little brush can do wonders for your body. Let’s dig in.

dry brushing during pregnancy yerba prima

What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is a technique that began thousands of years ago and uses a dry, stiff-bristled brush on your skin. This can help get rid of flaky skin, increase blood circulation, and improve digestion.

Is Dry Brushing Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, dry brushing can be safe to do during pregnancy. That said, always ask your doctor or midwife before starting a new routine during pregnancy. If you have rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, don’t dry brush.

Benefits of Dry Brushing During Pregnancy

The benefits of dry brushing can include:

  • Increased circulation
  • Improved skin texture
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased absorption of oils
  • Reduced appearance of stretch marks
  • Reduced stress

Once you get into the routine, just the self-care act of dry brushing can relieve tension. And if you’re like me, you’ll look forward to it.

dry brushing during pregnancy bristles

How to Dry Brush When Pregnant

You may find dry brushing techniques that include a 20-step process with circles etc. Let’s keep this simple. There’s one rule to remember:

Dry brush toward your heart.

No matter where you’re brushing on your body, just brush in the direction of your heart. This is because it works best for your lymphatic system and circulation.

The only exception is your belly: you’ll want to brush clockwise gently over your growing belly.

I dry brushed through my entire pregnancy, always before a shower. It’s an easy way to rinse off the dead skin.

As my belly got bigger it was harder to reach places. Listen to your body and do what you can.

Here’s an easy step-by-step:

dry brushing during pregnancy legs

1. Start at the feet and brush upwards toward your heart.

Use gentle pressure and start at the bottom of your feet. Work your way up to your thighs, butt and back to where you can comfortably reach. (Note the back can be sensitive so be as gentle as you would your belly.)

2. After legs, dry brush your arms.

Keep the same pressure and stroke toward your heart. Start with your hands and work your way up to your shoulders.

3. Dry brush your neck and chest.

Start at the top of your neck and work your way down toward your heart. Avoid the chest/breast area.

dry brushing during pregnancy belly

4. Delicately dry brush your belly.

Your skin gets a bit more sensitive as it stretches. Only dry brush here to your comfort level. Start at the belly button and brush in a clockwise direction to your outer belly area.

Toward the end of my pregnancies, my belly was so uncomfortable that I skipped it altogether (along with those other places I’d never reach, even with the extended stick).

Afterward, enjoy a shower and moisturize after. I use organic virgin coconut oil because I’m not a huge fan of lotion.

Here are the only two things I use for dry brushing:

Yerba Prima Dry Brush

yerba prima dry skin brush

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Nutiva virgin coconut olive oil moisturizer

Dry Brushing During Pregnancy FAQs

Can You Dry Brush Your Face?

You can use a softer brush to dry brush your face, but I don’t. Because the skin on your face is so delicate, I prefer to exfoliate using an organic salt scrub.

Can You Dry Brush Your Pregnant Belly?

Yes, you can dry brush your pregnant belly, but only to your comfort level. Brush clockwise gently over your growing belly, and always ask your doctor or midwife before starting a new routine during pregnancy.

Can You Exfoliate After Dry Brushing?

Since dry brushing causes exfoliation, so there’s no need to exfoliate after dry brushing. It’s best to shower after dry brushing to wash away the dead skin.

Do I Have to Shower After Dry Brushing?

You don’t have to shower after dry brushing, but it’s highly recommended. Since dry brushing causes your skin to exfoliate, you’ll want to get that dead skin off your body.

Do You Use Lotion After Dry Brushing?

I always moisturize after dry brushing and a shower. Instead of lotion, I use organic virgin coconut oil or raw shea butter.

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Does Dry Brushing Help with Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

It certainly can and is worth the little effort it takes. Although not scientifically proven, dry brushing helps the skin absorb moisture and produce collagen, which in turn can help stretch marks fade. Always dry brush gently over sensitive areas of your skin.

Will Dry Brushing Help with “Pregnant Puffiness”?

Dry brushing may help with pregnant puffiness. This is because it aids in draining the lymphatic system and increasing cirulation, which are both associated with swelling and puffiness.

My personal experience: dry brushing relieved a bit of the leg swelling I had in my third trimester.

How Often Can I Dry Brush During Pregnancy?

It’s best to dry brush a few times a week, but start with once a week and see how your body reacts. If you brush too often, your skin may become irritated.

That’s all mamas, hope this helps! Congrats on taking one more easy step toward living a greener life for you and baby.

Peace love & baby kicks.

Care to share?

Jen Brady author crunchy mama illustrationToday Parenting Team Contributor

About the Author

Jen Brady — Chief Green Mama
Mom of two. Wife of one. Holistic nutritional consultant. Amateur biohacker. Guide of the Green Yourself Pregnancy Challenge. Author of the Green Your Baby Registry Guide.

I'm wild about pregnancy and babies (in a sane way) and I need to steer you away from harsh chemicals and hormone disruptors. Stick with me to keep it lean and green.

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