After labour and before hospital discharge, the secondary researcher collected the data regarding obstetric and neonatal outcomes, and also recorded the opinion of the participants regarding the presence of the physiotherapist during the study period. Participants were recruited from the women admitted to the Reference Center of Women’s Health of Ribeirão Preto-MATER, state of São
Paulo, Brazil, between September 2009 and May 2010. This is a 40-bed unit that serves a mean of 3600 patients per year in Brazil’s Pictilisib public health system. The inclusion criteria were: primigravida, a single fetus in cephalic position, low-risk pregnancy, at least 37 weeks of gestation, the spontaneous onset of labour, cervical dilation Selleck Inhibitor Library of 4–5 cm with appropriate uterine dynamics for this phase, no use of medication from admission to hospital until randomisation, the absence of cognitive or psychiatric problems, intact ovular membranes, literacy, and with no associated risk factors. The main exclusion criterion was the presence of dermatologic conditions that would contraindicate the application of massage. Participants were free to withdraw from the study if they were intolerant of the allocated intervention or if they declined further participation at any stage. The two therapists involved in the intervention and data collection had both specialised
in women’s health since early 2008. Although the standardisation of the methods for evaluating the pain in labour should have minimised any interference of the researcher, the therapists took the same role, ie, the primary researcher conducted randomisation and the application of the study interventions (massage or routine care), while the secondary researcher conducted the measurement of outcomes. The experimental group received massage from a physiotherapist (the primary researcher) at the beginning of the active phase of labour, during the period of
4–5 cm of cervical dilation and during uterine contractions for 30 minutes. The intensity of the massage was determined by the participant, who Fossariinae was instructed to request greater or lesser force during execution of the massage according to her preference. The technique was applied between T10 and S4, which corresponds to the path of the hypogastric plexus and the pudendal nerve, responsible for innervation of the paravertebral ganglia, delivery canal, and perineum. The massage consisted of rhythmic, ascending, kneading hand movements and a return with sliding through the lateral region of the trunk in association with sacral pressure. The participants were also instructed to choose their preferred position for receiving massage, ie, sitting, lateral decubitus, or standing with the trunk bending forward. This group also received other routine maternity ward care, discussed further below. The control group received the same routine maternity ward care.