Labor pain is reduced by massage therapy

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1997 Dec;18(4):286-91. doi: 10.3109/01674829709080701.


Twenty-eight women were recruited from prenatal classes and randomly assigned to receive massage in addition to coaching in breathing from their partners during labor, or to receive coaching in breathing alone (a technique learned during prenatal classes). The massaged mothers reported a decrease in depressed mood, anxiety and pain, and showed less agitated activity and anxiety and more positive affect following the first massage during labor. In addition, the massaged mothers had significantly shorter labors, a shorter hospital stay and less postpartum depression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Depression, Postpartum
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Massage*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / therapy*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Touch