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Several research studies have shown that massage therapy alleviates depression in pregnant women. New research shows that women who suffer from anxiety or depression while pregnant give birth to low-birth weight babies who are more likely to die in infancy.

The study, which focused on women living in rural Bangladesh, provides the first finding of its kind in a non-Western population, according to a press release from BioMed Central, which publishes the open-access journal BMC Public Health in which the research ran.

The research indicates that mental-health issues are likely to be a primary contributor to infant mortality and poor child health, above poverty, malnutrition or low socio-economic status.

The study raises awareness of the significance of depression and anxiety leading to poor health in South Asian countries. It suggests that one way to reach the internationally-agreed Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality in the developing world would be to invest in mental health support services in this area, the press release noted.

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