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Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labor.

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eMediNexus    02 June 2018

The purpose of a new review published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was to assess the effectiveness, safety and acceptability of massage, reflexology and other manual methods to manage pain during labor. This review examined available evidence on manual methods, including massage and reflexology, for pain management in labor. The study entailed a search from Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirths Trials Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, CINAHL, the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, ClinicalTrials.gov, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) and reference lists of retrieved trials, and included randomized controlled trials comparing manual methods with standard care, other non-pharmacological forms of pain management in labor with no treatment or placebo. There was evidence of reduction in pain scores in favor of massage during the second and third stages of labor, according to two trials. One trial reported less anxiety during the first stage of labor in women receiving massage. Additionally, another trial found an increased sense of control among mothers receiving massage. Furthermore, two trials found more satisfaction with the childbirth experience with massage. From the results, it was concluded that massage may have a role in reducing pain, reducing length of labor, and improving womens sense of control and emotional experience of labor.

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