Human schistosomiasis is caused by helminths of the genus Schistosoma. Macrophages play a crucial role in the immune regulation of this disease. These cells acquire different phenotypes depending on the type of stimulus they receive. M1 macrophages can be ‘classically activated’ and can display a proinflammatory phenotype. M2 or ‘alternatively activated’ macrophages are considered anti-inflammatory cells. Despite the relevance of macrophages in controlling infections, the role of the functional types of these cells in schistosomiasis is unclear. This review highlights different molecules and/or macrophage activation and polarization pathways during Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma japonicum infection. This review is based on original and review articles obtained through searches in major databases, including Scopus, Google Scholar, ACS, PubMed, Wiley, Scielo, Web of Science, LILACS and ScienceDirect. Our findings emphasize the importance of S. mansoni and S. japonicum antigens in macrophage polarization, as they exert immunomodulatory effects in different stages of the disease and are therefore important as therapeutic targets for schistosomiasis and in vaccine development. A combination of different antigens can provide greater protection, as it possibly stimulates an adequate immune response for an M1 or M2 profile and leads to host resistance; however, this warrants in vitro and in vivo studies.