Effects of massage therapy and presence of attendant on pain, anxiety and satisfaction during labor

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Jul;286(1):19-23. doi: 10.1007/s00404-012-2227-4. Epub 2012 Jan 21.


Purpose: To investigate the effects of massage and presenting an attendant on pain, anxiety and satisfaction during labor to clarify some aspects of using an alternative complementary strategy.

Methods: 120 primiparous women with term pregnancy were divided into massage, attendant and control groups randomly. Massage group received firm and rhythmic massage during labor in three phases. After 30 min massage at each stage, pain, anxiety and satisfaction levels were evaluated. Self-reported present pain intensity scale was used to measure the labor pain. Anxiety and satisfaction were measured with the standard visual analog scale.

Results: Massage group had lower pain state in second and third phases (p < 0.05) in comparison with attendant group but reversely, the level of anxiety was lower in attendant group in second and third phases (p < 0.05) and satisfaction was higher in massage group in all four phases (p < 0.001). The massage group had lower pain and anxiety state in three phases in comparison with control group (p < 0.05). Data analysis of satisfaction level showed higher values in four phases in massage group compared with control (p < 0.001) and comparison of attendant and control groups showed higher satisfaction in attendant group in phases 2, 3 and 4 as well (p < 0.001). Duration of active phase was lower in massage group (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that massage is an effective alternative intervention, decreasing pain and anxiety during labor and increasing the level of satisfaction. Also, the supportive role of presenting an attendant can positively influence the level of anxiety and satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Massage / psychology*
  • Pain Management*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult