Research: CHANG and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 141


CHANG and colleagues, National Tainan Institue of Nursing, Republic of China, have studied the effects of massage on labour pain.


The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of pain during labour with and without massage.


60 first-time mothers in labour were randomly assigned to either a massage or control group and tested using the self-reported Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire at 3 phases of cervical dilation: phase 1 dilation (3-4 cm), phase 2 dilation (5-7 cm), and phase 3 dilation (8-10 cm). The massage group received standard nursing care and massage intervention, whereas the control group received standard nursing care only.


In both groups, as cervical dilation increased, there were significant increases in pain intensity. Massage lessened pain intensity at phase 1 and phase 2, but there were no significant differences between the groups at phase 3. The most frequently selected five sensory words chosen by both groups were similar at phases 1 and 2- (a) sore, (b) sharp, (c) heavy, (d) throbbing, and (e) cramping, while of the 4 affective classes, “fearful” and “tiring-exhausting” were the most used by participants to describe the affective dimension.


Although massage cannot change the characteristics of pain experienced by women in labour, it can effectively decrease labour pain intensity at phase 1 and phase 2 of cervical dilation during labour. Nurses and caregivers could consider using massage to help women in labour.


Chang MY, Chen CH, Huang KF. A comparison of massage effects on labor pain using the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Journal of Nursing Research 14 (3): 190-197, Sep 2006.


Readers are referred to Partnership in Pregnancy and Childbirth – A Specific Massage Programme by Anne Haines and Linda Kimber in this issue.

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