Evaluation of the Effect of Oral Saffron Capsules on Pain Intensity during the Active Phase of Labor

Document Type : Original Article


1 Lecture of Midwifery, Evidence-based Care Research Center, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 M.Sc. Student of Midwifery, Student Research Committee, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Pharmacological Research Center of Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Gynecology, School of Medicine, Islamic Azad University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

5 Lecture of Nursing, Evidence-Based Care Research Center, Department of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Background: For many women, childbirth is considered the most painful experience of their lives. Fear of natural delivery is the main cause of women’s inclination towards cesarean section. Effects of saffron and its active ingredients have been shown to alleviate a variety of neurological and inflammatory pains; however, the effect of saffron on labor pain has not been yet investigated. This study was performed to determine the effect of oral saffron capsules on pain during the active phase of labor.
Methods: This triple-blind clinical trial was conducted on 60 eligible women, who were candidates for normal vaginal delivery at 17 Shahrivar Hospital of Mashhad, Iran in 2013-2014. The subjects were randomly divided into intervention (using saffron capsules, 250 mg) and control (receiving placebo capsules) groups. At the beginning of the active phase of labor, one capsule (the saffron or placebo capsule) was used by the subject. Pain intensity was measured at the beginning of the study and then every hour until the end of the active phase of labor, using a visual analog scale. For data analysis, Chi-square, t-test, Mann-Whitney, and variance analysis were performed, using SPSS version 11.5. P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The mean overall pain intensity was 85.9±8.4 in the intervention group and 97.4±2.9 in the control group; the difference was statistically significant (P<0.001). Before the intervention, the mean anxiety score in the intervention group was not significantly different from that observed in the placebo group (P=0.824). Maternal/neonatal complications were observed in none of the subjects of the two groups.
Conclusion: Considering an 11.8% reduction in the pain intensity of nulliparous women using saffron capsules and the absence of any associated complications, these capsules can be used as a mild analgesic for labor pain


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