The effect of biofeedback in pain relief of Chinese women during the first stage of labour

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The effect of biofeedback in pain relief of Chinese women during the first stage of labour


Author: Leung, Chi-mei Rosemary
Title: The effect of biofeedback in pain relief of Chinese women during the first stage of labour
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2001
Subject: Natural childbirth
Biological control systems
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Nursing and Health Sciences
Pages: v, 69 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: Aim: The aim of this study was to study the effect of biofeedback on labour pain by comparing the pain intensities and obstetric outcomes of primiparous women using biofeedback relaxation and those using conventional relaxation during the first stage of labour. Method: This is a two group experimental design. One hundred and forty women were randomized into either the biofeedback relaxation group or conventional relaxation group once they went into labour. Pain intensities of women in both groups were then assessed by administering the Verbal Rating Scale (Chinese version) developed by Chung (1999) during the three time intervals of the first stage of labour to find out any difference between them. In addition, analgesics consumed and obstetric outcomes were recorded and compared. Since 10 women ended up in Caesarean sections due to obstetric complications, 2 women had babies greater than four kilograms, 128 women were left for data analysis. Findings: The two groups were similar with respect to most antenatal and demographic variables. Significant decrease in the pain intensities were reported by women using biofeedback relaxation compared to those using conventional relaxation during the early first stage of labour (p<0.05). The biofeedback group also consumed less analgesics like Pethidine and Entonox, had a shorter length of labour, and decrease in instrumental deliveries when compared to the control group, although the findings were not statistically significant. No significant differences were found between groups regarding the Apgar scores and birth weight of babies. Discussion: The results of this study suggest that biofeedback relaxation is particularly helpful in reducing the pain intensities of Chinese women during the early first stage of labour. As labour progress, women in both groups reported high levels of pain intensities. This may imply that labour is still painful and that it is necessary to mobilize other resources to cope with the pain. Apart from the medications given to relieve pain, support and encouragement were also important for the psychosocial well being of the woman in labour. Thus, biofeedback and other methods of pain relief are not mutually exclusive but complement each other for the benefits of the mother and baby. Since pain is a subjective and individual experience, the ultimate goal is to provide what is most suitable for the woman in labour. The limitation of this study is that only one dimension of pain, the sensory part was measured, the affective and cognitive aspects of the labour pain were not explored. Conclusion: Biofeedback relaxation is demonstrated to be more effective than conventional method in pain relief during the early stage of labour. This is most useful for primiparas who have no experience of labour pain before and those without antenatal preparation to help them prepare and cope with the pain. Biofeedback relaxation could be incorporated into antenatal class so that women in labour could have more self-awareness and control over labour pain. This would probably decrease the use of analgesics and obstetric complications and foster a more satisfying childbirth experience.

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