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Efficacy of Warm Showers on Labor Pain and Birth Experiences During the First Labor Stage

Authors


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.

Correspondence

Meei-Ling Gau, RN, CNM, IBCLC, PhD, Graduate Institute of Nurse-Midwifery, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, No. 365, Ming-Te Road, Peitou, Taipei 112, Taiwan. meeiling@ntunhs.edu.tw

ABSTRACT

Objective

To determine the efficacy of warm showers on parturition pain and the birth experiences of women during the first stage of labor.

Design

Randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Setting/Participants

The study was conducted from July 10, 2010 to January 12, 2011 in the maternity ward of a Taipei City regional teaching hospital, site of approximately 220 to 250 births per month. Ninety-two expectant mothers were recruited (recruitment rate: 70.8%) and allocated by block randomization into the two arms of the study. In total, 80 women completed the trial: 41 in the control group and 39 in the experimental group.

Methods

Participants in the experimental group received warm shower bath interventions. Each shower lasted 20 minutes. After a 5-minute full body or lower back shower, participants could spend 15 minutes directing shower water toward any body region that felt most comfortable. Facilities allowed participants to stand and sit as desired. Water was constantly monitored and maintained at a temperature of 37°C. Participants in the control group received standard childbirth care.

Results

Labor pain and the birth experience were assessed using the Visual Analogue Scale for Pain (VASP) and the Labour Agentry Scale, respectively. After adjusting for demographic and obstetric data, experimental-group women who participated in warm showers reported significantly lower VASP scores at 4-cm and 7-cm cervical dilations, and higher birth experiences than the control group.

Conclusion

Apart from the positive physical hygiene effects, warm showers are a cost-effective, convenient, easy-to-deploy, nonpharmacological approach to pain reduction. This intervention helps women in labor to participate fully in the birthing process, earn continuous caregiver support, feel cared for and comforted, and have a more positive overall experience.

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