Published Dec 23, 2020

Haibo Wu

Bei Zhu  

Peng Jiang


Background: Labor pain is severe physical pain experienced by the parturient. More than 90% of mothers are accompanied by tension-anxiety-pain syndrome during childbirth. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been widely used in nursing teaching, skill training, and clinical nursing. As a non-pharmacological method, it is rarely used in the management of labor analgesia. This study aims to explore the effect of VR technology on the anxiety state of parturient in labor analgesia.

Methods: After the ethics committee approved the study, 102 primiparas who received labor analgesia in a tertiary teaching hospital were included in the study from March to October 2020. The included women were randomly divided into epidural Analgesia (E) and epidural analgesia combined with the VR group (EV). The primary outcome was the maternal anxiety score. The score was obtained using a 0-100 digital scoring scale, collected before and 30 minutes after labor analgesia. Statistical analysis used independent or paired t-test, Willson and Mann-Whitney nonparametric test.

Results: After labor analgesia, the anxiety and pain scores of the two groups (E and EV) were significantly reduced (P = 0.000), and the anxiety and pain of the mothers in the EV group were relieved more significantly (P = 0.000). VR intervention significantly reduced the number of additional analgesics needed by women in the EV group (1.51 ± 0.68 vs. 0.32 ± 1.18, P = 0.000) and significantly improved the women’s overall satisfaction (9 vs. 10, P = 0.000). There were no significant differences in adverse reactions, such as nausea and vomiting between the two groups.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that VR can effectively alleviate primipara’s anxiety and pain in labor analgesia.



Virtual Reality, Anxiety, Labor Pain, Childbirth

Supporting Agencies

This work was supported by the Nanjing Medical Science and Technique Development Foundation (Project #: QRX17161).

1. Pettersson FD, Hellgren C, Nyberg F, Akerud H, Sundstrom-Poromaa I. Depressed mood, anxiety, and the use of labor analgesia. Arch Womens Ment Health 2016; 19(1):11-16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-015-0572-6

2. Jantjes L, Strumpher J, Kotze WJ. The experience of childbirth in first-time mothers who received narcotic analgesics during the first stage of labor. Curationis 2007; 30(2):82-90. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v30i2.1079

3. Hoban E, Liamputtong P. Cambodian migrant women’s postpartum experiences in Victoria, Australia. Midwifery 2013; 29(7):772-778. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2012.06.021

4. Koyyalamudi V, Sidhu G, Cornett EM, Nguyen V, Labrie-Brown C, Fox CJ, Kaye AD. New Labor Pain Treatment Options. Curr Pain Headache Rep 2016; 20(2):11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-016-0543-2

5. Arendt KW, Tessmer-Tuck JA. Nonpharmacologic labor analgesia. Clin Perinatol 2013; 40(3):351-371. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clp.2013.05.007

6. Mallari B, Spaeth EK, Goh H, Boyd BS. Virtual reality as an analgesic for acute and chronic pain in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pain Res 2019; 12:2053-2085. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S200498

7. Frey DP, Bauer ME, Bell CL, Low LK, Hassett AL, Cassidy RB, Boyer KD, Sharar SR. Virtual reality analgesia in labor: The VRAIL Pilot Study-a preliminary randomized controlled trial suggesting benefit of immersive virtual reality analgesia in unmedicated laboring women.
Anesth Analg 2019; 128(6):e93-e96. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1213/ane.0000000000003649

8. Hogg ME, Tam V, Zenati M, Novak S, Miller J, Zureikat AH, Zeh HJ III. Mastery-based virtual reality robotic simulation curriculum: The first step toward operative robotic proficiency. J Surg Educ 2017; 74(3):477-485. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsurg.2016.10.015

9. Choi W, Li L, Satoh S, Hachimura K. Multisensory Integration in the Virtual Hand Illusion with Active Movement. Biomed Res Int 2016; 2016:8163098. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/8163098

10. Eijlers R, Utens EMWJ, Staals LM, de Nijs PFA, Berghmans JM, Wijnen RMH, Hillegers MHJ, Dierckx B, Legerstee JS. Systematic review and meta-analysis of virtual reality in pediatrics: Effects on pain and anxiety. Anesth Analg 2019; 129(5):1344-1353. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1213/ane.0000000000004165

11. Park MJ, Kim DJ, Lee U, Na EJ, Jeon HJ. A literature overview of virtual reality (VR) in treatment of psychiatric disorders: Recent advances and limitations. Front Psychiatry 2019; 10:505. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00505

12. Ahmadpour N, Randall H, Choksi H, Gao A, Vaughan C, Poronnik P. Virtual Reality interventions for acute and chronic pain management. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 2019; 114:105568. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2019.105568

13. Hoffman HG, Chambers GT, Meyer WJ III, Arceneaux LL, Russell WJ, Seibel EJ, Richards TL, Sharar SR, Patterson DR. Virtual reality as an adjunctive non-pharmacologic analgesic for acute burn pain during medical procedures. Ann Behav Med 2011; 41(2):183-191. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-010-9248-7
How to Cite
Wu, H., Zhu, B., & Jiang, P. (2020). The Relationship between Virtual Reality Technology and Anxiety State of Parturient Women with Labor Pain. Science Insights, 35(5), 236-243. https://doi.org/10.15354/si.20.or036
Original Article