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Virtual Reality Supports Pregnant Patients in the Delivery Room

Updated: Jul 9

Virtual Reality Supports Pregnant Patients in the Delivery Room

Newswise — Italy - April 14, 2024 - The pain of labor and childbirth may be reduced through the use of a Virtual Reality (VR) relaxation program timed with contractions.

Researchers at the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) led by Dr. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., and in collaboration with Policlinico Hospital in Napoli, present their findings which demonstrate the efficacy of VR in the delivery room to improve patients’ ability to withstand the pain of childbirth.

Published in Games4Health Journal, the paper titled, "Synchronization of a VR Scenario to Uterine Contractions for Labor Pain Management: Development Study and Randomized Controlled Trial," describes this first-of-its-kind investigation utilizing virtual reality synchronized with uterine contractions.

The randomized, controlled trial involved 120 pregnant women, each experiencing labor pains at various stages. Participants were randomly assigned to either the virtual reality intervention group or the control group, allowing for a comprehensive comparison of outcomes.


Key findings from the study include:

  • Significantly reduced pain perception among participants in the virtual reality intervention group compared to the control group.

  • Enhanced coping mechanisms and relaxation reported by participants during labor with the use of synchronized virtual reality scenarios.

  • Positive feedback and high satisfaction levels among participants regarding the efficacy and immersive experience of the virtual reality intervention.


"Our research represents a paradigm shift in the approach to labor pain management,” says Giordano, Founder and Director of SHRO. “By integrating virtual reality technology with the natural rhythm of uterine contractions, we have unlocked a new avenue for providing women with a more comfortable and empowering childbirth experience."

Dr. Andrea Chirico, psychologist at Sapienza University of Rome and one of the researchers involved in the project, adds, "This innovative approach not only reduces the perception of pain but also enhances the psychological well-being of women during labor. By engaging the senses and providing a distraction from discomfort, virtual reality has the potential to transform the childbirth experience."

This study is the latest of many by SHRO researchers to include the use of VR. Previously, studies have been conducted by Giordano and colleagues on the use of VR during administration of chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. Another incorporated VR into a study as a potential cognitive assessment tool. The authors hope the publication of this study in Games4Health Journal will help to advance healthcare innovation in both the incorporation of VR, and on the importance of improving maternal health outcomes around the world.

Partners of the study included:

Center of National Research with Dr. Pino de Pietro, dr. Luigi Gallo and dr. Giuseppe Caggianese

Sapienza University of Rome with Dr. Fabio Lucidi and dr. Andrea Chirico

University of Naples Federico II, Prof. Maurizio Guida and dr. Sarah Rachedi

University of Campania L. Vanvitelli, Prof. Gimigliano Francesca and dr. Antonio Melillo

Sbarro Health Research Organization included Dr.Antonio Giordano and dr. Patrizia Maiorano


About Sbarro Health Research Organization: Sbarro Health Research Organization is at the forefront of cutting-edge biomedical research, with a focus on translating scientific discoveries into tangible healthcare solutions. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and a commitment to excellence, SHRO is dedicated to advancing our understanding of human health and disease.

About Policlinico Hospital: Policlinico Hospital is a leading healthcare institution dedicated to providing excellence in patient care, research, and medical education. With a commitment to innovation and collaboration, Policlinico Hospital continues to drive advancements in healthcare delivery and improve outcomes for patients across diverse medical specialties.

Professor Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., is the creator and head of the Sbarro Health Research Organization, located at Temple University's College of Science and Technology in Philadelphia. Stay connected with him through his various social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, to receive the latest updates.


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