Background: Asthma is a serious medical problem in pregnancy and is often associated with stress, anger and poor quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) on change in blood pressure, lung parameters, heart rate, anger and health-related quality of life in pregnant women with bronchial asthma.
Methods: We treated a sample of 64 pregnant women with bronchial asthma from the local population in an 8-week randomized, prospective, controlled trial. Thirty-two were selected for PMR, and 32 received a placebo intervention. The systolic blood pressure, forced expiratory volume in the first second, peak expiratory flow and heart rate were tested, and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory and Health Survey (SF-36) were employed.
Results: According to the intend-to-treat principle, a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and a significant increase in both forced expiratory volume in the first second and peak expiratory flow were observed after PMR. The heart rate showed a significant increase in the coefficient of variation, root mean square of successive differences and high frequency ranges, in addition to a significant reduction in low and middle frequency ranges. A significant reduction on three of five State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory scales, and a significant increase on seven of eight SF-36 scales were observed.
Conclusions: PMR appears to be an effective method to improve blood pressure, lung parameters and heart rate, and to decrease anger levels, thus enhancing health-related quality of life in pregnant women with bronchial asthma.