Effect of Massage Therapy on Labor Pain Reduction in Primiparous Women: A Systematic Review and Meta‑analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials in Iran

Mehdi Ranjbaran, Maahboobeh Khorsandi, Pegah Matourypour, Mohsen Shamsi


Background: Pain is a common experience for women during labor. Therefore, pain relief care for mothers during labor is very important. This meta‑analysis was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of massage therapy on labor pain reduction in primiparous women.

Materials and Methods: In this meta‑analysis, the databases of Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane, Iranmedex, Scientific Information Database (SID), and Magiran were searched for published articles in English and Persian language up to January 2016. Among the studies, with regard to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 10 studies were selected. Data were  analyzed by using Stata software version 11, and standard mean difference (SMD) of effects of massage therapy was calculated. The heterogeneity among studies was evaluated by the Chi‑square based Q‑test and I2 statistics.

Results: The results of Chi‑square based on Q‑test and I2 statistics showed heterogeneity among studies in the latent phase (Q = 63.52, P value < 0.001 and I2 = 87.4%), active phase (Q = 26.42, P value < 0.001, and I2 = 77.3%), and transitional phase (Q = 104.84, P value <0.001, and I2 = 95.2%). Results showed that massage therapy reduces labor pain in the latent phase (SMD = −1.23, 95% CI: −1.73 to −0.74), active phase (SMD = −1.59, 95% CI: −2.06 to −1.12), and transitional phase (SMD = −1.90, 95%
CI: −3.09 to −0.71).

Conclusions: This study provides valid evidence for the effect of massage therapy in Iran for labor pain relief. Therefore, the use of massage therapy can be recommended in the primiparous women.


Delivery, Iran, labor pain, massage, meta‑analysis, obstetric

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