Virtual Reality Analgesia in Labor: The VRAIL Pilot Study-A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial Suggesting Benefit of Immersive Virtual Reality Analgesia in Unmedicated Laboring Women

Anesth Analg. 2019 Jun;128(6):e93-e96. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003649.


This pilot study investigated the use of virtual reality (VR) in laboring women. Twenty-seven women were observed for equivalent time during unmedicated contractions in the first stage of labor both with and without VR (order balanced and randomized). Numeric rating scale scores were collected after both study conditions. Significant decreases in sensory pain -1.5 (95% CI, -0.8 to -2.2), affective pain -2.5 (95% CI, -1.6 to -3.3), cognitive pain -3.1 (95% CI, -2.4 to -3.8), and anxiety -1.5 (95% CI, -0.8 to -2.3) were observed during VR. Results suggest that VR is a potentially effective technique for improving pain and anxiety during labor.

Trial registration: NCT02926469.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia / methods*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Pain Perception
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy*
  • Young Adult

Associated data