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J Caring Sci. 2012 May 27;1(2):73-8. doi: 10.5681/jcs.2012.011. eCollection 2012 Jun.

The efficacy of massage therapy and breathing techniques on pain intensity and physiological responses to labor pain.

Author information

1
MSc, Instructor, Departement of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
2
MD, Professor, Departement of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
3
MSc, Instructor, Departement of Midwifery, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran.
4
BSc in Midwifery, Tabriz, Iran.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

There are many non-pharmacological methods for relieving labor pain. The preferable method is certainly the one that is effective and harmless. Therefore, we decided to compare the efficacy of massage therapy and breathing techniques on pain intensity, physiological responses to labor pain, labor type and the outcomes.

METHODS:

A quasi-experimental study was conducted in Alzahra Hospital in Tabriz. At first, 4o primigravidas, satisfying the inclusion criteria, were selected and randomly divided into two groups of massage 1 (M1) and breathing 1 (B1). Then, another 42 mothers were selected based on the same criteria and randomly divided into two groups of massage 2 (M2) and breathing 2 (B2). An educated researcher assistant (ERA) provided practical training to (B1 and B2 groups) by holding one educational session. As the labor process started, the ERA, who was present at the labor room, repeated the breathing technique for B1 and B2 groups. The breathing groups employed the techniques during the first or second stage of labor at 4, 6, 8 and 10 centimeter of dilatation for 30 minutes. The intensity of pain was measured by a numerical rating scale (NRS) 30 minutes after determining dilatation. The physiological responses were evaluated at the same time intervals. The ERA performed massaging at the same dilatations for M1 and M2 groups. The data was collected similarly. Labor progression was evaluated by the partograph.

RESULTS:

Massage at 4 and 6 cm dilatations and breathing at most dilatations decreased pain scores significantly. The mean difference of pain intensity and physiological responses to pain was not significant between the massaging and breathing groups at most dilatations.

CONCLUSION:

Based on the findings of this research, providing the possibility of choosing one or both methods for labor pain relief and decreasing cesarean section rate is suggested.

KEYWORDS:

Breathing exercises; Delivery; Labor pain; Massage

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