Therapeutic massage during postpartum period


eMediNexus    08 June 2018

Women are known to benefit from postpartum massage. The benefits include hormone regulation, reduction in swelling, improved sleep and improved breastfeeding.1 Massage therapy can have a significant effect on maternal sleep quality in the postpartum period.2 Back massage during the postpartum period has been shown to reduce the levels of noradrenalin and increase the levels of oxytocin and prolactin. A study assessed the levels of oxytocin, prolactin and noradrenalin and levels of the Beck Depression Scale to assess the effects of back massage carried out in the early postpartum period on lactation. In all, 60 women were randomized into a massage group and a control group. The levels of noradrenalin decreased to a statistically significant extent in the massage group compared to the control group, while the levels of oxytocin and prolactin increased. Therefore, back massage in the postpartum period was noted to increase mother’s milk.3

Postpartum massage has been shown to have protective effect against postpartum depression. It also appears to have a potential effect in reducing anxiety and stress level, improving quality of sleep and mental status among mothers in the postpartum period.4

Postpartum massage thus seems to have several benefits for the mother and can be a part of postpartum care.


  1. Available from: http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/postpartum-massage/. Accessed on April 26, 2018.
  2. Owais S, Chow CHT, Furtado M, et al. Non-pharmacological interventions for improving postpartum maternal sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews 2018 Jan 31.
  3. Kosova F, Demirtaş Z, Çalım S, Sapmaz L. The Effect on Lactation of Back Massage Performed in the Early Postpartum Period. J Basic Appl Res. 2016;2(2):113-8.
  4. Traditional postnatal care in restoring women’s physical and mental health. Available from: http://www.moh.gov.my/penerbitan/mymahtas/TCM%20Postnatal%20care_for%20upload%20Version3.pdf. Accessed on June 6, 2018.

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