Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Print version ISSN 1413-3555
MELLO, Larissa F. D.; NOBREGA, Luciana F. and LEMOS, Andrea. Transcutaneous electrical stimulation for pain relief during labor: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2011, vol.15, n.3, pp. 175-184. ISSN 1413-3555. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-35552011000300002.
BACKGROUND: Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) is a non-pharmacological pain relief method. It is an auxiliary method and not intended to replace other techniques. OBJECTIVES: To perform a systematic review assessing the effectiveness of TENS compared to no TENS treatment or placebo with the following outcomes: pain relief (primary outcome), analgesic requirements, duration of labor, the mother's satisfaction, type of delivery and fetal repercussions (secondary outcomes). METHODS: The Pubmed, LILACS and Scielo databases were searched for randomized controlled trials and quasi-randomized trials published between 1966 and 2008 using the keywords 'TENS', 'Labor', 'Labor pain' and 'obstetric labor'. The selection of eligible items and assessment of methodological quality were performed independently by two researchers. Random effects meta-analysis was performed for studies that were sufficiently homogeneous. RESULTS: Nine studies involving a total of 1076 pregnant women were included. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in pain relief during labor (pooled RR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.72 to 1.65) or the need of additional analgesia (pooled RR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.74 to 1.08). There was no evidence that TENS interfered in any of the outcomes except the mothers' desire to use TENS in future deliveries. CONCLUSIONS: The use of TENS had no impact on mother or child and no influence on labor. According to the results of this review, there is no evidence that TENS reduces the use of additional analgesia.
Keywords : Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve stimulation; labor pain; obstetric analgesia; labor, obstetric.