Meditation for Preterm Birth Prevention: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Udonthani, Thailand
AbstractIntroductionPreterm birth represents a major obstetric complication. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of a meditation programme in the prevention of preterm birth. MethodsThis study was a randomized controlled trial without blinding. The study was performed at Udonthani Hospital in Northeast Thailand. A total of 199 eligible participants were randomly assigned to a five-step mindfulness meditation programme (n=84) or a control group (n=115). The control group received routine prenatal care. The meditation and control group subjects did not differ on a wide variety of sociodemographic characteristics, or in terms obstetric history and prior meditation experience. The data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis after delivery, using less than 37 weeks as the criterion for a preterm birth. Other outcome variables included a subjective measure of symptoms of stress.ResultsThe preterm birth rate for the meditation group was significantly less than that for the control group (6.0% vs. 15.7%, p=0. 037). The stress scores reported by the meditation group markedly decreased over time (p<0.001), while the control group scores showed no change (p=0.375).ConclusionsThe results confirm and strengthen the findings of past research indicating that participation in a meditation programme can reduce symptoms of stress. Meditation appears to be a promising technique for reducing the incidence of preterm birth. Recommendations are made for future research in this area.
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