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J Affect Disord. 2001 Mar;63(1-3):201-7.

Infant massage improves mother-infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression.

Author information

  • 1Section of Perinatal Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Postnatal depression can have long term adverse consequences for the mother-infant relationship and the infant's development. Improving a mother's depression per se has been found to have little impact on mother-infant interaction. The aims of this study were to determine whether attending regular massage classes could reduce maternal depression and also improve the quality of mother-infant interaction.

METHOD:

Thirty-four primiparous depressed mothers, median 9 weeks postpartum, identified as being depressed following completion of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 4 weeks postpartum, were randomly allocated either to an infant massage class and a support group (massage group) or to a support group (control group). Each group attended for five weekly sessions. Changes in maternal depression and mother-infant interaction were assessed at the beginning and the end of the study by comparing EPDS scores and ratings of videotaped mother-infant interaction.

RESULTS:

The EPDS scores fell in both groups. Significant improvement of mother-infant interaction was seen only in the massage group.

LIMITATION:

The sample size was small and had relatively high dropout. It was not possible to distinguish which aspects of the infant massage class contributed to the benefit.

CONCLUSION:

This study suggests that learning the practice of infant massage by mothers is an effective treatment for facilitating mother-infant interaction in mothers with postnatal depression.

PMID:
11246096
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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