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Emotional freedom techniques and breathing awareness to reduce childbirth fear: A randomized controlled study

Citation: Vural P.I., Aslan, E., Emotional freedom techniques and breathing awareness to reduce childbirth fear: A randomized controlled study, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Volume 35, 2019, 224-231, ISSN 1744-3881.

Link to original paper and abstract: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.02.011

Abstract

Background: Emotional freedom techniques (EFT) and breathing awareness (BA) are applicable during labour. The present study aimed to determine the effectiveness of EFT and BA in the reduction of childbirth fear.

Materials and methods: This randomized controlled study included 120 pregnant women, of whom the EFT, BA and control groups. The women in the EFT and BA groups were offered their intervention in the latent, active and transition phases of labour.

Results: There was no significant difference in the sociodemographic and obstetric factors between the groups (p > 0.05). The Subjective Units of Distress Scale in active and transition phases were significantly lower in the EFT group. The difference in the scores for the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire (version B) between the groups was significant (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Both EFT and BA were observed to be beneficial in clinical practice; the EFT was found to be more effective and permanent.

Craig’s Notes: This RCT study included a healthy sample size of 120 pregnant women. The were randomly selected and place in either a group who received EFT or Breathing Awareness or a control group. The interventions were given in the latent, active and transition phases of labor.

While I personally know of nurse midwives who use EFT in labor and delivery, this is the first published study of its kind with this demographic. Given the emotional and physical stress of childbirth, this is an application of EFT which has significant potential.

The results revealed that both EFT and Breathing Awareness interventions were observed to be beneficial, but EFT concluded to be more effective than BA in reducing childbirth fear during delivery. On the basis of the SUDS scores, EFT can be said to have produced a more positive and permanent effect.