Evaluating the Effect of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training with Guided Imagery on the Severity of Depressive Symptoms in Postpartum Period

Document Type : Original Article


1 Lecturer of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 M.Sc. of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 M.Sc. of Biostatistics, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Introduction: Postpartum depression is a mental disorder after childbirth with high prevalence and unpleasant complications. Thus diagnosis and its treatment are considered important. Relaxation techniques training is simple method of treatment used by primary care providers, including midwives. The purpose of this study is the effect of relaxation training on severity of depressive symptoms in the postpartum period.

Methods: This clinical trial was performed on 54 women in Mashhad community health centers in 2010. In third week after delivery, women with Edinburgh Depression Scale score ≥10 complete Beck Depression Inventory (score 14-28) and final diagnosis of depression was done by psychologist interview. Then the women were divided randomly into two groups of relaxation with guided imagery (n=26) and control (n=28). Relaxation and guided imagery were performed respectively once daily and once weekly during 6 weeks. Beck Depression Inventory was completed again in the ninth week after delivery. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and ANOVA test and SPSS software version 14 and p-value less than 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Mean of severity of depressive symptoms after intervention was 7.7±4.6 in relaxation group and 15.3±6.4 in control group that the difference was significant (p<0.000). Also severity of depression symptoms decreased in relaxation group and control group (58.1% and 23.5%, respectively).
Conclusion: The relaxation training is an effective method in reduction severity of depressive symptoms in postpartum period.


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