Aim: This study aims to identify the effect of applying bitter almond oil with and without massage on preventing striae gravidarum during pregnancy.
Background: Striae gravidarum is a dermatological problem bringing about cosmetic concerns in about 90% of pregnant women. On the onset, striae gravidarum appears as a pink-purple atrophic strip. Striae appear pale atrophic in the postnatal period, but they never disappear completely.
Design: In view of the physiology of striae gravidarum formation, this study employs a posttest-only quasi-experimental design with a control group.
Methods: The participants of this study were the primiparous women who visited the pregnancy unit of a medical centre in the eastern region of Turkey between February 1st, 2010 and April 15th, 2011. The participants were divided into three groups: the primiparous women who applied bitter almond oil with massage (n = 47), who merely applied bitter almond oil (n = 48) and who were in the control group (n = 46).
Results: The frequency of striae gravidarum was 20% among the women who applied bitter almond oil with massage, 38·8% among those who merely applied almond oil and 41·2% in the control group. A statistically significant difference was observed in the frequency of striae gravidarum between the groups, and it was the group who applied almond oil with massage that accounted for the difference (p < 0·001). The frequency of striae gravidarum was also found to be lower in the group who applied almond oil with massage compared to the others (p < 0·05).
Conclusion: It was found that a 15-minute massage applied with almond oil during pregnancy reduced the development of striae gravidarum, but using bitter almond oil had no effect on this in itself. It is recommended that pregnant women be informed about the positive effects of massaging applied with almond oil early during their pregnancy.
Relevance to clinical practice: Nurses and midwives can use the findings of this study in preventing the development of striae gravidarum during pregnancy.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.