Labor and delivery are physiological conditions that occur due to the contraction of the smooth muscles of the uterus. Labor pain is one of the most severe pains that anyone can experience, and its control is one of the most important goals of health care.
This study was performed on 130 healthy pregnant women who had gestational ages of 37 to 40 weeks and were randomly assigned to the intervention and control groups using the closed envelope technique. Then a virtual reality (VR) headset containing a game was provided to the study subjects in the intervention group. The Harman Fear of childbirth questionnaire and visual analog scale (VAS) were completed at different times across labor according to the study protocol. The minimum time for using the headset was 20 minutes until the end of the first stage of labor. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test, independent t-test, and repeated measures test via SPSS software version 20.
The results showed a significant difference in pain score between the study groups. Despite expecting increasing pain intensity with labor progression, participants in the VR group reported less pain intensity and fear of labor pain compared to control subjects (F = 8.18, P < 0.05, between four and ten cervical dilatations).
Virtual reality interventions can be regarded as a new non-pharmaceutical strategy to control labor pain and fear of normal vaginal delivery in pregnant women.
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