Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Wrede, Jane


Background/Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to critically analyze literature in order to determine the effectiveness of non-pharmacological touch therapies during labor. The touch therapies included in this literature review are acupuncture, acupressure, massage, and sterile water injections. The specific outcomes studies are labor pain, duration of labor, labor progress, mode of delivery, maternal satisfaction, and neonatal outcomes. Theoretical Framework: The Modeling and Role Modeling Theory can be used as a foundation for the utilization of non-pharmacological touch therapies in labor. This theory is a self-care model based on the clinical perception of the world and adaptations to stressors (Petiprin, 2016). According to the theory, the nurse’s roles are to facilitate, nurture, and provide unconditional acceptance while building trust, promoting patient’s control and strengths, and setting mutual health-directed goals (Petiprin, 2016). Methods: Databases used to search for literature pertaining to the effectiveness of non pharmacological touch therapies in labor were CINAHL, google scholar, and EBSCOhost. Twenty studies published between 2008 and 2018 were chosen. Nineteen are randomized controlled trials and one is a quasi-experimental study. No research on these particular interventions occurred in the United States, so international locations were used. Results/Findings: Thirteen of the articles utilized reduction of labor pain as a primary outcome of their study. All but one study found a statistically significant reduction in labor pain when comparing the interventions to a control group. A total of eighteen studies addressed duration of labor and labor process as an outcome. Ten studies revealed significant results showing that non-pharmacological interventions can be a good alternative for shortening the duration of labor and assisting with uterine contractions. Eight randomized controlled trials addressed the method of delivery with only one study showing a statistically significant difference in lowering cesarean section rates. Three studies addressed maternal satisfaction with all three finding statistically significant differences. Lastly, ten studies reviewed neonatal outcomes with one study finding significantly improved results. Implications for Research and Practice: Providers are encouraged to attend course to learn and develop the skills to be able to use non-pharmacological interventions when care for the laboring woman. With proper training and education nurse-midwives can meet their client’s desires of achieving a holistic birth. It is important to understand the benefits of non-pharmacological interventions as well as educate women on all their options. Non-pharmacological interventions can be used in the hospital, birth center, and home setting and can be used in combination with pharmacological options.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Terms of Use and License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.