Keimyung Med J.  2021 Jun;40(1):39-47. 10.46308/kmj.2021.00094.

The Effect of a Breathing Relaxation Therapy for Pregnant Women with Preterm Labor Pain: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • 1Department of Nursing, Kyungwoon University, Gumi, Korea


To evaluate the effects of abdominal breathing relaxation therapy on anxiety, stress, pain for pregnant women with preterm labor pain. Electronic databases, including PubMed, OVID MEDLINE, RISS, Google Scholar and Korean databases and were searched through April 2021. 401 studies were identified; 5 were suitable for meta-analysis. Cochrane’s risk of bias tool and the R version 3.5.2(Meta-analysis with R) program were used. The authors performed a meta-analysis of 5 trials that met eligibility criteria. Two randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) and three non-RCTs examined a total of 533 pregnant women with preterm labor pain patients who received breathing relaxation therapy were compared with those who received control or usual care (no intervention). The findings in this study indicate that effect size of breathing relaxation therapy for anxiety was Hedges' g = -0.93 (95% CI: -1.46 to -0.41), as indicated by a “large effect size” and the effect size of stress was Hedges' g = -0.59 (95% CI: 0.22 to 0.95) as indicated by a “moderate effect size”. The effect size of BP was Hedges’ g = -1.03 (95% CI: -1.43 to -0.63), as indicated by a “large effect size”. Overall, abdominal breathing relaxation therapy had beneficial effects on anxiety, stress and BP, and it was statistically significant. In the meta-subgroup analyses by approach type, intervention duration had a significant effect. These results indicate that abdominal breathing may be an effective nursing intervention for pregnant women with preterm labor.


Anxiety; Meta-analysis; Obstetric labor; Preterm labor; Relaxation therapy
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