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.
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