Mother-led infant massage eases maternal postnatal depression, according to studies
Women who participate in mother-led infant massage sessions show a reduction in symptoms of postnatal depression, according to a review published online Dec. 13 in PLOS ONE.
Orla Geary, from the University of Limerick in Ireland, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the effectiveness and experiences of mother-led infant massage on symptoms of maternal postnatal depression.
Based on eight studies (521 women with maternal postnatal depression), the researchers found that all included studies showed a reduction in depressive symptoms in mothers using infant massage versus those who received routine postnatal care. Findings persisted across various types of research and sample sizes. Additionally, improved mother-infant interactions were seen in women using infant massage.
"Infant massage may reduce symptoms of depression, improve maternal sleep quality, reduce anxiety and stress levels, reduce feelings of guilt and improve maternal confidence, satisfaction and attitude towards physical contact with their infant," the authors write. "The promotion of a public health nurse-led intervention such as infant massage may provide a blend of social and professional support which advocates for positive maternal well-being and positive parent-infant interactions."
More information: Orla Geary et al, The effectiveness of mother-led infant massage on symptoms of maternal postnatal depression: A systematic review, PLOS ONE (2023). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0294156
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