The effects of progressive muscular relaxation and breathing control technique on blood pressure during pregnancy

Mahboobeh Aalami, Farzaneh Jafarnejad, Morteza ModarresGharavi


Background: Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are the main cause of maternal and fetal mortality; however, they have no definite effective treatment. The researchers aimed to study the effects of progressive muscular relaxation and breathing control technique on blood pressure (BP) during pregnancy.

Materials and Methods: This three‑group clinical trial was conducted in Mashhad health centers and governmental hospitals. Sixty pregnant (after 20 weeks of gestational age) women with systolic BP ≥ 135 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 85 mmHg were assigned to three groups. Progressive muscular relaxation and breathing control exercises were administered to the two experimental groups once a week in person and in the rest of the days by instructions given on a CD for 4 weeks. BP was checked before and after the interventions. BP was measured before and after 15 min subjects’ waiting without any especial intervention in the control group.

Results: After 4 weeks of intervention, the systolic (by a mean of 131.3 to 117.2, P = 0.001 and by a mean of 131.05 to 120.5, P = 0.004, respectively) and diastolic (by a mean of 79.2 to 72.3, P = 0.001 and by a mean of 80.1 to 76.5, P = 0.047, respectively) BPs were significantly decreased in progressive muscular relaxation and breathing control groups, but they were not statistically significant in the control group.

Conclusions: The interventions were effective on decreasing systolic and diastolic BP to normal range after 4 weeks in both the groups. The effects of both the interventions were more obvious on systolic BP compared to diastolic BP.



Blood pressure; breathing exercises; hypertensive disorders; muscle relaxation; pregnancy complications; pregnancy‑induced hypertension

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