The Effects of Intrapartum Supportive Care on Fear of Delivery and Labor Outcomes: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Supportive care during labor, the primary role of intrapartum nurses and midwives, provides comfort to prepartum women and helps facilitate a positive labor experience. It has been argued that supportive care during labor reduces fear and anxiety as well as the resultant side effects. However, evidence supporting this argument is insufficient.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of intrapartum supportive care on fear of delivery and on the key parameters of the labor process.

Methods:

This study used a single-blind randomized controlled trial approach. Randomized block assignment was used to assign 72 participants to either the intervention group (n = 36) or the control group (n = 36). Three women in the intervention group and six in the control group were later excluded from the study because they received emergency cesarean delivery. The intervention group received continuous supportive care, and the control group received routine hospital care.

Results:

No significant differences were identified between the two groups at baseline. The intervention group reported less fear of delivery during the active and transient phases of labor, higher perceived support and control during delivery, lower pain scores during the transient phase of labor, and a shorter delivery period than the control group (p < .05). However, no significant difference in the use of oxytocin during delivery between the two groups was reported.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

The results of this evidence-based study suggest that continuous support during labor has clinically meaningful benefits for women and that all women should receive this support throughout their labor and delivery process.

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