Enhancing normal labour by adopting antenatal physiotherapy: a prospective study

Rooplekha Chauhan, Bharti Sahu, Neetu Singh, Ritika Malviya, Priyadarshani Tiwari


Background: In the recent past there had been a steady rise in caesarean section rate as against the vaginal delivery. Information is still scarce on the benefits of physiotherapy and birthing experience of women who exercises in antenatal duration. Benefits of exercise during pregnancy include; prevention of excessive gestational weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, decrease need for caesarean section and reduced low back pain. The objective of this study was to evaluation of antenatal physiotherapy on maternal and perinatal outcome and subjective evaluation of degree of labour pain perception.

Methods: In the study 150 primigravida subjects in second to third trimester without any associated high risk factor and were willing to exercise during pregnancy were chosen.

Results: In the study group, the average duration of latent phase [7.56 (±2.02) hours] and active phase of first stage of labour [3.26 (±1.06) hours] was significantly lesser as compared to the control group, 89.3% (n=134) delivered vaginally and 10.7% (n=16) subjects had to be taken for caesarean section. In the study group no perineal tear or need for any instrumentation (outlet forceps/ventouse) to facilitate delivery was seen. Higher proportion of the study group subjects i.e. 70.9% experienced moderate to mild pain during labour. and majority i.e. 72% subjects delivered newborns with birth weight >2.5 kg,with higher one minute and five minutes APGAR scores.

Conclusions: This highlights the very need for physiotherapy to be inculcated into the curriculum during antenatal period with conducive maternal and foetal outcome as it inflates the chances of normal deliveries and abate the rates of cesarean section and subsequent, which is the dire need of the day.


Antenatal, Physiotherapy, Vaginal delivery, Caesarean section, Labour pain

Full Text:



Mottola, MF, McLaughlin R. Exercise and pregnancy: Canadian guidelines for health care professionals. Wellspring. 2011;22(4):A1-4.

Zavorsky GS, Longo LD. Exercise guidelines in pregnancy. Sports Medicine. 2011;41(5):345-60.

Paisley TS, Joy EA, Price RJ. Exercise during pregnancy: a practical approach. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2003;2:325-30.

Park SH, Kang CB, Jang SY, Kim BY. Effect of kegel exercise to prevent urinary and fecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women: systematic review. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing. 2013;43:420-30.

Hamid El, Azzam AA, Ismail HF, Gaafar HM. Effect of a structured antenatal kegel exercises protocol on labor progress among women attending antenatal clinics. Egyptian Nursing Journal. 2012;3:2090-210.

Dumoulin C, Hay-Smith J. Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(1):CD005654.

World Health Organization. Appropriate technology for birth. Lancet. 1985;2:(8452):436-7.

Bieri D, Reeve RA, Champion GD, Addicoat I. The Faces Pain Scale for the self-assessment of the severity of pain experienced by children: development, initial validation, and preliminary investigation for ratio scale properties. Zeigler. 1990;41(2):139-50.

Bell BB, Dooley MMP. Exercise in pregnancy. guidelines and audit committee of the RCOG Statement No. 4; 2006.

Sternfeld B. Physical activity and pregnancy outcome: review and recommendations. Sports Med. 1997;23:33-47.

Wolfe LA, Hall P, Webb KA, Goodman L, Monga M, McGrath MJ. Prescription of aerobic exercise during pregnancy. Sports Med.1989;8:273-301.

Dönmez S, Kavlak O. Effects of prenatal perineal massage and kegel exercises on the integrity of postnatal perine. Health. 2015;7:495-505.

Kardel KR, Kase T. Training in pregnant women: effect on fetal development and birth. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998;178(2):280-6.

Botkin C, Driscoll CE. Maternal aerobic exercise: newborn effects. Fam Pract Res J. 1991;11(4):387-93.

Lokey EA, Tran ZV, Wells CL, Myers BC, Tran AC. Effects of physical exercise on pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analytic review. Med SciSports Exerc. 1991;23(11):1234-9.