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Managing Pregnancy Pain Through Prenatal Massage

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it can also bring various discomforts and aches to your body, especially during the second half of pregnancy. The body must shift and accommodate much more weight and pressure than it had before, especially on the pelvic floor, lower back, and legs. Luckily, through prenatal massage, you can help relieve those uncomfortable aches and pains in a safe and effective manner while enhancing your overall well-being.

pregnant woman receiving a prenatal massage

Understanding Pregnancy Pain

During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant changes, both physically and hormonally, which can lead to discomfort and pain. Some common sources of pregnancy-related pain include:

  1. Back Pain: As the baby grows, the expanding uterus shifts the center of gravity, straining the back muscles and causing lower back pain.

  2. Sciatica: Pressure on the sciatic nerve can result in radiating pain, numbness, or tingling sensations in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.

  3. Leg Cramps: Hormonal changes and increased pressure on the blood vessels can contribute to leg cramps and restless leg syndrome.

  4. Swollen Ankles and Feet: Fluid retention and decreased circulation can lead to swelling in the ankles and feet.

  5. Shoulder and Neck Tension: Hormonal changes and postural adjustments during pregnancy can cause tension and discomfort in the shoulders and neck.

Benefits of Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage offers numerous benefits for managing pregnancy pain and promoting overall well-being. Some key advantages include:

  1. Pain Relief: Targeted massage techniques help alleviate muscle tension and reduce pain associated with pregnancy discomforts.

  2. Stress Reduction: Prenatal massage promotes relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety levels, and improving the overall mood of expectant mothers.

  3. Improved Circulation: Massage techniques stimulate blood and lymphatic flow, reducing swelling and promoting better circulation throughout the body.

  4. Hormonal Regulation: Prenatal massage can help balance hormones, such as reducing stress hormone levels and increasing serotonin and dopamine, contributing to a sense of well-being.

  5. Enhanced Sleep Quality: Improved relaxation and reduced pain often lead to better sleep quality, which is crucial during pregnancy.

Prenatal Massage Techniques for Pain Relief

When it comes to managing pregnancy pain, prenatal massage incorporates specialized techniques to ensure safety and effectiveness. Some techniques commonly used for pain relief during prenatal massage include:

  1. Swedish Massage: Gentle, flowing strokes help relax muscles, improve circulation, and reduce tension.

  2. Myofascial Release: Slow, sustained pressure is applied to release tension and restore mobility in affected areas.

  3. Strain-Counterstrain: Sometimes also referred to as "positional release", the massage therapist will passively guide a tight muscle into a more relaxed position and hold it there while the neurological system resets and allows the muscle to release chronic tension

  4. Trigger Point Therapy: Focused pressure is applied to specific points to alleviate muscle knots and referred pain.

  5. Stretching and Joint Mobilization: Gentle stretches and mobilization techniques help relieve joint discomfort and reduce the incidence of muscle cramps.

  6. Positioning and Pillows: The use of supportive pillows and specific positioning ensures comfort and safety during the massage session.

Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Prenatal Massage Experience

To make the most of your prenatal massage experience and ensure safety, consider the following tips:

  1. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Discuss your intention to receive prenatal massage and seek approval from your healthcare provider.

  2. Communicate Openly: Clearly communicate your pregnancy symptoms, pain areas, and any concerns or discomforts with your massage therapist.

  3. Find a Comfortable Position: Make use of supportive pillows and bolsters to find a position that is comfortable for your changing body; a massage therapist trained in prenatal massage will be able to facilitate this for you!

  4. Hydrate and Rest: Drink plenty of water before and after your massage, and allow yourself time to rest and relax afterward.

Book a Prenatal Massage Today

Prenatal massage is a valuable tool for managing pregnancy pain and enhancing your overall well-being. With its numerous benefits, including pain relief, stress reduction, improved circulation, and hormonal regulation, prenatal massage offers a safe and effective approach to promoting a more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancy journey. By seeking the expertise of a certified prenatal massage therapist here at Resolve Wellness, we can help you find relief from pregnancy-related pain and nurture your physical and emotional well-being. Request an appointment today!


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Ariela Liberman is a Marketing Associate and a staff writer for Resolve Wellness, with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, she is a Southern California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.

Erynne Hill, MS, ATC, HHP, BFRC, is a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer and Massage Therapist and has been a part of the healthcare field since 2002. She is the Director of Massage & Wellness here at Rehab United, specializing in Lymphatic Drainage Massage and Prenatal Massage. Erynne has extensive knowledge of both massage and physiology, even receiving her Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from San Diego State University.


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