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Papers: 8 Jun 2024 - 14 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 11

Games Health J


Synchronization of a Virtual Reality Scenario to Uterine Contractions for Labor Pain Management: Development Study and Randomized Controlled Trial.


Melillo A, Rachedi S, Caggianese G, Gallo L, Maiorano P, Gimigliano F, Lucidi F, De Pietro G, Guida M, Giordano A, Chirico A


Labor is described as one of the most painful events women can experience through their lives, and labor pain shows unique features and rhythmic fluctuations. The present study aims to evaluate virtual reality (VR) analgesic interventions for active labor with biofeedback-based VR technologies synchronized to uterine activity. We developed a VR system modeled on uterine contractions by connecting it to cardiotocographic equipment. We conducted a randomized controlled trial on a sample of 74 cases and 80 controls during active labor. Results of the study showed a significant reduction of pain scores compared with both preintervention scores and to control group scores; a significant reduction of anxiety levels both compared with preintervention assessment and to control group and significant reduction in fear of labor experience compared with controls. VR may be considered as an effective nonpharmacological analgesic technique for the treatment of pain and anxiety and fear of childbirth experience during labor. The developed system could improve personalization of care, modulating the multisensory stimulation tailored to labor progression. Further studies are needed to compare the synchronized VR system to uterine activity and unsynchronized VR interventions.