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Relaxation therapy for preventing and treating preterm labor

from Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews via PubMed

Background: Preterm birth is a leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. Although the pathogenesis of preterm labor is not well understood, there is evidence about the relationship between maternal psychological stress and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Relaxation or mind-body therapies cover a broad range of techniques, e.g. meditation, massage, etc. There is no systematic review investigating the effect of relaxation techniques on preventing PTL and PTB. This review does not cover hypnosis as this is the subject of a separate Cochrane review.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of relaxation therapies for preventing or treating PTL and preventing PTB.

Selection Criteria: Randomized controlled trials, cluster- and quasi-randomized trials comparing relaxation techniques with usual care, no treatment or sham interventions to prevent or treat PTL.

Results: Eleven randomized controlled trials with a total of 833 women were included in this review. However, the results of this review are based on single studies with small numbers of participants.The majority of included studies reported insufficient information on sequence generation, allocation concealment as well as blinding. There were no included studies that assessed PTL or PTB as the primary outcome. The included studies were different in terms of intervention, practice, and time, and there were no clear coherent hypotheses.For women not in PTL, the benefits of relaxation was found in one study for maternal stress (Anxiety Stress Scale) at 26 to 29 weeks gestational age (mean difference (MD) -7.04; 95 percent confidence interval (CI) -13.91 to -0.17).

Conclusions: According to the results of this review, there is some evidence that relaxation during pregnancy reduces stress and anxiety. However, there was no effect on PTL/PTB. These results should be interpreted with caution as they were drawn from included studies with limited quality. more

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