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Partner delivered relaxation massage to support mild antenatal anxiety; views of participants.

Hall H, Lauche R, Fogarty S, Kloester J, Carr B, Munk N. Partner delivered relaxation massage to support mild antenatal anxiety; views of participants. Midwifery. 2022 Feb 1; 105:103229.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Approximately one-fifth of pregnant women suffer from anxiety and/or depression. These mental health conditions are associated with increased infant and maternal morbidity. Relaxation massage has the potential to improve mental health and may provide a vaulable option for pregnant women. This paper reports on participants' experiences of partner delivered massage as a technique to manage mild antenatal anxiety. METHODS: We conducted a feasibility study with 44 pregnant women who self-assessed as mildly anxious. The women were randomised into massage therapy (14 women/partner dyads) or to an active control group (13 women). 4-6 weeks after the birth of their baby, massage group participants were invited to be interviewed about their experiences; twelve women and four partners agreed. The qualitative data was analysed using reflective thematic analysis. RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the data; Supporting mental health, Connecting, Useful and adaptable and Making it happen. Partner delivered massage was an accessible and practical method to manage mild anxiety for pregnant women in this study. The massage program also provided useful skills for participants to apply in their lives after the birth of their child, which has the potential to continue to support maternal mental health as well as partner connection. CONCLUSION: Partner delivered massage offers low-cost, accessible option for pregnant women to manage their mild anxiety. These findings have particular relevance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, where anecdotal reports indicate that antenatal stress is increasing and women may have limited access to healthcare services.





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