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The Effect of Foot Reflexology on the Anxiety Levels of Women in Labor.

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eMediNexus    18 May 2018

The aim of a new study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine was to analyze the effect of foot reflexology on the anxiety levels of women during labor. This study recruited 154 nulliparous pregnant women who were admitted to a maternity unit of a state hospital. These women were divided into an experimental group and a control group. Foot reflexology was implemented to these women when cervical dilation was 3-4 cm, on the right and the left foot reflex points for 15 mins; a total of 30 mins. The mean Spielberger State-trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI TX-1) scores were measured before reflexology, in the latent and active phases of labor and early in postpartum period (four times in total). The result showed that mean STAI TX-1 scores were higher in the experimental group than in the control group. While the mean STAI TX-1 scores post-reflexology application (when cervical dilation was 3-4 cm) and during the active phase of the labor (when cervical dilation was 6-8 cm) of the pregnant women in the experimental group were lower than those of the control group. In addition, the experimental group exhibited no statistically significant difference between the mean STAI TX-1 scores pre- and post-reflexology. Moreover, the mean STAI TX-1 scores in the early postpartum period were similar in the experimental and control groups. The findings indicated that foot reflexology has a positive effect in lowering total anxiety scores of pregnant women. It was stated that a decrease in anxiety experienced at birth improves womens positive birth experiences, promotes a secure mother-infant attachment, and protects post-partum mental health.

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