Background: Reflexology is one of the non-pharmacological pain relief methods, and since it is a non-invasive, inexpensive and applicable technique, it can be used by a skilled and trained midwife. This study aimed to review the effect of reflexology on the pain and outcomes of the labor.
Methods: In this quasi-experimental study, 88 primiparous mothers referred to selected hospitals of Isfahan for vaginal delivery were selected using simple random sampling method and then randomized in two groups. Data collection tools were the demographic data questionnaire, profile and outcomes of the labor and the short-form of the McGill Questionnaire for Pain Rating Index (PRI) assessment. The intervention was general and specific reflexology in the active phase of labor. PRI was assessed before the intervention and four times after the intervention (3-5 cm, 6-8 cm and 9-10 cm dilatations and second stage of labor.
Results: There was no significant difference between groups before intervention. In the reflexology group, there was a significant difference between the PRI before and after the 4 stages intervention (p < 0.001). PRI was different significantly between studied groups after intervention (p < 0.001). The length of active phase of labor was different significantly between the two groups; but this difference was not significant during the second (p = 0.29), and the third (p = 0.27) stages. The difference between the 1(st) minute and the 5(th) minute Apgar score (p < 0.001) and rate of hemorrhage between the two groups were different significantly (p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Reflexology can lead to decrease in the labor pain. Therefore, regarding to the safety of this technique, it can be replaced as an alternative for pharmacological methods.
Keywords: Reflexology; labor pain; primiparous.