A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes

Julie McCullough, Ciara Close, Sarah Dianne Liddle, Marlene Sinclair, Ciara Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


to investigate the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes.Designsecondary analysis of a pilot three-armed randomised controlled trial conducted between July 2012 and September 2013.SettingA large UK inner city hospital maternity department.
Ninety primiparous women with a singleton pregnancy experiencing low back and / or pelvic girdle pain.

Six weekly 30-minute reflexology treatments compared to sham (footbath) treatments or usual antenatal care only.MeasurementsLabour outcome data including labour onset, duration of the second stage of labour, epidural and Entonox usage, and mode of delivery. Participant feedback was collected prior to each treatment.
Labour outcomes were collected for 61 women (95.3%) who completed the study. The second stage of labour duration data, available for 42 women (62.5%) who had vaginal births, showed a mean reduction of 44 minutes in the reflexology group (73.56 minutes; SD= 53.78) compared to the usual care (117.92 minutes; SD=56.15) (p<0.05) and footbath groups (117.4 minutes; SD=68.54) (p=0.08). No adverse effects were reported.Key conclusionsIn this trial antenatal reflexology reduced labour duration for primiparous women who had experienced low back and/ or pelvic girdle pain during their pregnancy, compared with usual care and footbaths.
Implications for practiceReflexology is suitable for use during pregnancy, is safe and enjoyable and may reduce labour duration. Midwives may wish to recommend reflexology to promote normal childbirth and facilitate women centred care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Early online date14 Sep 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 14 Sep 2017


  • labour outcomes, reflexology, antenatal,

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this