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Review

Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Haptic Research Lab, Paul-Flechsig-Institute of Brain Research, University of Leipzig, Liebigstrasse 19 Haus C, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
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Academic Editor: Julie Cwikel
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(16), 3485; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163485
Received: 14 July 2021 / Revised: 3 August 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 6 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women’s Health and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders)
Healthcare professionals and expecting mothers frequently voice concerns that massages during pregnancy might cause complications or premature labor. This PRISMA review outlines current results on effects, side effects and contraindications of relaxation massage during pregnancy. Inclusion criteria: all randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing relaxation massage during pregnancy with standard care or standard care plus another intervention (i.e., progressive muscle relaxation). Restrictions were full text availability and English language. Results: 12 RCT were included. Trials had good methodological quality but unknown risk of bias. All women were at least 12 weeks gestation at the start of the study. The main benefits of massage during pregnancy were: reduced stress, back and leg pain, depression and anxiety; increased immune response; increased serotonin and dopamine levels; higher fetal birth weight and reduced risk of preterm delivery. Only 2 RCT reported potential side effects of massage, which were minor and transient. Seven RCT excluded women with difficult pregnancies or preexisting complications, five studies did not report preexisting conditions. Those obstetric or postnatal complications that occurred were most likely unrelated to massage treatments. In healthy pregnant women without complications, relaxation massage has positive effects throughout pregnancy. Precautions for massage during pregnancy (i.e., to prevent pulmonary embolism) are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: antenatal massage; pain; stress; depression; anxiety antenatal massage; pain; stress; depression; anxiety
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mueller, S.M.; Grunwald, M. Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10, 3485. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163485

AMA Style

Mueller SM, Grunwald M. Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021; 10(16):3485. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163485

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mueller, Stephanie M., and Martin Grunwald. 2021. "Effects, Side Effects and Contraindications of Relaxation Massage during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials" Journal of Clinical Medicine 10, no. 16: 3485. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163485

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