What are the benefits of relaxation during pregnancy?

A recent study reviewed research on the effects of relaxation techniques during pregnancy, including maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes. What it found:

  1. Relaxation had a positive impact on women’s emotional state.
  2. Pregnancy outcomes improved with fewer admissions to the hospital, fewer obstetric complications, longer gestation, reduction of caesarean sections, and fewer postpartum complications.
  3. Fetal heart rate and fetal motor activity were reduced as a result of relaxation and therefore interpreted as improved result.
  4. Higher-birth-weight and improved performance on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale was related to relaxation.
  5. Relaxation training was associated with reductions in maternal physiological and endocrine measures. 

Massage leads to relaxation.  The benefits of relaxation during pregnancy include easier, more enjoyable pregnancies, smoother births, and healthier babies.  

Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2012 Oct-Dec;26(4):296-306. doi: 10.1097/JPN. 0b01 3e3182 3f565b. Relaxation during pregnancy: what are the benefits for mother, fetus, and the newborn? A systematic review of the literature. Fink NS, Urech C, Cavelti M, Alder J.