Prenatal massage, also called pregnancy massage, is used to relieve the stress that pregnancy puts on a woman's body. During pregnancy the body changes rapidly. The organs shift. The ligaments of the hips relax. The abdomen stretches. The center of gravity changes. All of these things cause discomfort and pain. Prenatal massage is done by therapists trained to cater to the special needs of a pregnant woman. In there prenatal massage training they learn how to give massages that will be safe for both mother or baby. They also learn how to bolster a pregnant woman so she can lay comfortably on a massage table. Here are some benefits bodywork can provide during pregnancy.

Reduces stress hormones - Preparing for a new baby and dealing with the natural bodily changes that go along with it can be a very happy yet stressful time in life. When stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is not good for mother or baby. While natural raises in cortisol are normal, consistent elevated cortisol can negatively affect the health of the mother and infant. Massage helps lower the amount of cortisol in the blood and raises the amount of the feel good hormone dopamine.

Decreases swelling in hands, feet, legs and arms - This common problem of pregnancy occurs because fluid builds up in the extremities. Massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph helping the carry the excess fluid from the extremities and decreasing swelling.

Relieves muscle discomfort and cramping - Massage helps loosen and relax tension in muscles by manipulating muscle tissue and breaking up adhesions and trigger points. The increased circulation that results from a good massage results in relaxed, well-nourished muscles.

Encourages relaxation to relieve pain - Bodywork soothes and relaxes the muscles and the brain. When you are relaxed you experience less muscle tension and pain.

Relieves insomnia - The bodily changes that occur in pregnancy can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep. Bodywork can help soothe the nervous system and make falling to sleep easier.

Alleviates back, neck, shoulder, and hip pain by realigning the muscles - Carrying the weight of a baby changes the alignment of the muscles in the body and causes pain. Massage can help the body realign.

Relieves the symptoms of pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome - Some women experience carpal tunnel syndrome when they are pregnant. Massage can release the pressure on the nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

Relieves stress on weight bearing joints - Carrying around the extra weight of a growing baby puts added stress on hips, knees, and ankles. Massaging around the joints can help relieve that pain.

Reduces anxiety and depression - It's natural to experience anxiety and depression during pregnancy. Bodywork increases the secretion of serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help ease depression and calm anxiety.

Gives emotion support - The calming touch of a massage therapist can help bring feelings of emotional nourishment and support during this time of physical and emotional change.

Be sure that you book your prenatal massage with a therapist who has been specially trained to treat pregnant women.

Author's Bio: 

Heather Bettison is dedicated to educating the world about the benefits of massage therapy. Find out more about the benefits of prenatal massage and other forms of massage at