Effect of Foot Reflexology on Duration of Labor and Severity of First-Stage Labor Pain

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.Sc. in Midwifery, Kerman, Iran.

2 Lecturer, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


Introduction:One of the problems that occupy pregnant women`s mind is the labor pain. Owing to considerable rate of Caesarean sections in our community (due to fear of labor pain) it is our duty to try to increase the rate of normal vaginal deliveries instead. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of reflexology on the severity of labor pain and labor duration in nulliparous women.
Methods: This clinical trial study was carried out on 70 nulliparous women (39 intervention and 31 controls) who referring to labor room of Afzalipour Hospital (Kerman city) with gestational age of 37 weeks and above, and cervical dilatation of 3-4 cm. They had no significant diseases according to their medical records, nor had used any medications during labor. The intervention group received reflexology for 20 minutes (10 minutes each foot) during their uterus contraction in active phase of labor (acceleration). The control group underwent massage for 20 minutes at the same time but on other areas of their feet. Severity of labor pain was shown by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), before and after the intervention. Moreover, the duration of labor was determined for both two groups.
Results: Severity of labor pain before foot reflexology did not vary between case and control groups (p = 0.14) but after it, severity of labor pain in the intervention group was lower than the control group (p < 0.001). The severity of labor pain reduced after the intervention in the intervention group (p < 0.001), whereas, labor pain increased in the control group (p < 0.001). However, the labor durations were same in both groups (p<0.063).
Conclusion: Reflexology have an indisputable effect on decreasing labor pain in the first phase, whereas, it does not affect the total duration of labor.


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