The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Anxiety, Pain, and Outcomes of the Labor in Primigravida Women

Acta Med Iran. 2015 Aug;53(8):507-11.


Reflexology is a technique used widely as one of non-pharmacological pain management techniques. The present study aimed to review and determine the effect of foot reflexology on anxiety, pain and outcomes of the labor in primigravida women. This clinical trial study was conducted on 80 primigravida mothers who were divided randomly into an intervention group (Foot reflexology applied for 40 min, n=40) and control group (n=40). The pain intensity was scored immediately after the end of intervention and at 30,60 and 120 min after the intervention in both groups, based on McGill Questionnaire for Pain Rating Index (PRI). Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was completed before and after intervention in both groups. Duration of labor phases, the type of labor and Apgar scores of the infant at the first and fifth minute were recorded in both groups. Descriptive and inferential statistics methods (t-test and chi-square test) were applied in analyzing data. Application of reflexology technique decreased pain intensity (at 30, 60 and 120 min after intervention) and duration of labor as well as anxiety level significantly (P<0.001). Furthermore, a significant difference was observed between two groups in terms of the frequency distribution of the type of labor and Apgar score (P<0.001). Results of this study show that reflexology reduces labor pain intensity, duration of labor, anxiety, frequency distribution of natural delivery and increases Apgar scores. Using this non-invasive technique, obstetricians can achieve, to some extent, to one of the most important goals of midwifery as pain relief and reducing anxiety during labor and encourage the mothers to have a vaginal delivery.

Keywords: Anxiety; Apgar; Duration of labor; Labor pain; Pain relief; Primiparous; Reflexology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Apgar Score
  • Female
  • Foot*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labor Pain / therapy*
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Massage / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult