New research from the Touch Research Institutes shows that pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birth weight and postpartum depression.

Pregnant women diagnosed with major depression were given 12 weeks of twice-per-week massage therapy by their significant other or only standard treatment as a control group, according to a PubMed release.

The massage-therapy-group women versus the control-group women not only had reduced depression by the end of the therapy period, but they also had reduced depression and cortisol levels during the postpartum period.

Their newborns were also less likely to be born prematurely and of low birth weight, and they had lower cortisol levels and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales.

The Touch Research Institutes has conducted groundbreaking research into a variety of applications of massage therapy. It is located at the University of Miami (Florida) School of Medicine.

This research was published in Infant Behavior and Development.

Previous research reported on by MASSAGE Magazine showed that pregnancy massage by fathers was found to reduce pain in their pregnant partners, alleviate prenatal depression in both parents and improve their relationships; Therapeutic Touch significantly reduced the anxiety of pregnant inpatients with chemical dependencies; and massage therapy eases anxiety and depression, as well as leg and back pain, in depressed pregnant women, and their newborns seem to benefit as well.