Non-invasive Nursing Technologies for Pain Relief During Childbirth--The Brazilian Nurse Midwives' View

Midwifery. 2013 Nov;29(11):e99-e106. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.11.011. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


Objectives: to describe the non-invasive care technologies most frequently used by nurse midwives to relieve childbirth pain, and provide a synthesis of studies published by Brazilian nurse midwives on the use of such technologies.

Methodology: a systematic literature review focusing on the non-invasive pain relief strategies used by nurse midwives in Brazil. Surveys of three databases (BDENF, CINAHL and MEDLINE) were conducted between 2002 and 2012. The inclusion criteria were: (1) full-text article available; (2) published between 2002 and 2012; (3) written by Brazilian nurse midwives, and (4) fitting the descriptors: childbirth pain; non-invasive technologies; labour; and pain relief. For purposes of analysis, the technologies mentioned were classified into four main categories of support as they relate to environment, position, tactile stimulation, and energy level.

Findings: we located 21 scientific articles that met the inclusion criteria and addressed the non-invasive technologies that nurse midwives use to provide pain relief during labour. The technologies most used was: stimulation of breathing and relaxation; use of massage with essential oils; encouraging freedom to move, to walk and the free choice for vertical positioning; use of showers and baths; use of birth ball.

Conclusion: Brazilian nurse midwives have made efforts to focus care during delivery on the parturient. By studying and publishing about the non-invasive care technologies they have strengthened de-medicalised knowledge, based on scientific evidence and good outcomes in pain relief during labour.

Implications for practice: the study presented ideas towards improved theoretical foundations and strategies for establishing practice consonant with humanised care.

Keywords: Childbirth; Labour pain; Non-invasive technologies; Pain relief.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Brazil
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain* / nursing
  • Labor Pain* / therapy
  • Midwifery / methods*
  • Natural Childbirth / nursing*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Patient Positioning / methods
  • Pregnancy