The effects of decreasing maternal anxiety on fetal oxygenation and nucleated red blood cells count in the cord blood

Iran J Pediatr. 2014 Jun;24(3):285-92.


Objective: Vasoconstriction during anxiety reduces fetal oxygenation and leads to hypoxia. Hypoxia in turn results in increase of the number of nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) in the cord blood. The present study aimed to assess the effect of decreasing maternal anxiety on fetal oxygenation and NRBCs count in the cord blood.

Methods: . In this study, 150 women were randomly divided into two intervention groups [supportive care and acupressure in BL32 (bladder) acupoint] and a control group (hospital routine care). The infants' cord blood was investigated regarding the number of NRBCs and the intensity of hypoxia after birth. Then, the data were entered into the SPSS statistical software (v. 16) and analyzed using ANOVA, Chi-square test, and logistic regression analysis. Findings : The significant difference was found between the two groups regarding the number of NRBCs counted in the peripheral blood smear (P<0.001). Besides, a significant relationship was observed between the length of the first and second stages of labor and the number of NRBCs in the cord blood (P=0.01). Also, a significant association was observed between the type of delivery and the number of NRBCs in the cord blood in both intervention (P<0.001) and control groups (P=0.03).

Conclusion: Doula supportive care and acupressure at BL32 point reduced the length of labor stages as well as the anxiety level. Also, nucleated red blood cells were less in the 2 groups of intervention than in control group. Regarding the fact that nucleated red blood cells cannot be the only factor for hypoxia predicting, for affirmation of this theory study with higher sample size and survey of mothers at high risk are needed.

Keywords: Acupressure; Anxiety; Delivery Outcome; Doula.