Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on a woman’s body, especially the lower back, hip muscles and sciatic nerve. This is why many expectant mothers find relief with regular prenatal massage therapy sessions that can ease muscle aches and pains, reduce swelling in the legs, ankles and feet, relieve stress and anxiety, and foster a sense of calm and well-being.

When scheduling a pregnancy massage, it’s important to discuss with your obstetrician and/or massage therapist the types of pressure points you do or don’t want to have stimulated. In some cases, stimulating acupressure or reflexology points could induce labor, so these are often off limits for pregnant women.

A qualified therapist should be aware of these limitations and know how to position the client so that she feels comfortable throughout the entire session, which can include side-lying with a long body pillow or sitting on a specially designed cushion. The positioning of the client is important, as lying flat on the back in late pregnancy can cause supine hypotension, whereby blood flow is slowed to the legs due to compression of the inferior vena cava, which delivers blood to the fetus.

The specialized cushion used for pregnancy massage can provide comfort and support, helping the client to lie on her side while also supporting her breasts and abdomen. The therapist can then manipulate the hip muscles and the deep rotator muscles of the pelvis to alleviate low back tension. The therapist can also work on the piriformis, which is a common muscle that tightens to produce the sciatic nerve syndrome that causes leg pain in many expecting mothers. During the second and third trimester, swelling in the ankles and feet (edema) is a common problem, which can be relieved by working on soft tissue to improve circulation and decrease pooling of fluid.

The therapist can apply an unscented lotion or oil to regions of the body that are appropriately uncovered, and the client is draped in order to maintain modesty and privacy. The therapist can address any areas of tension that the expectant mother has discussed ahead of time, such as shoulder pain, sciatica in the hip muscles and thighs, or swelling in the ankles or feet. In addition to working on these specific areas of tension, the therapist will usually apply gentle pressure to the ankles, feet and hands to relieve achy joints and stiff muscles. The therapist will also use aromatherapy to soothe the pregnant woman with soothing scents, like lavender, chamomile and neroli, which are safe for pregnant women. The length of each pregnancy massage session varies depending on the individual’s needs, with weekly sessions often recommended until the second trimester. After that, a client may choose to have a more frequent but less extensive regimen if desired. Massage during pregnancy can help to relieve the aches and pains associated with this physically demanding life stage, and can enhance a positive bond between mom and baby. If you need a prenatal massage therapy in Atlanta visit