Application of cabbage leaves compared to gel packs for mothers with breast engorgement: Randomised controlled trial. Wong et al. International Journal of Nursing Studies
The effects of cold cabbage leaves and cold gel packs on breast engorgement management have been inconclusive. No studies have compared the effects of these methods on breast engorgement using a rigorous design.
Mothers in the cabbage leaves and gel packs groups had significant reductions in pain at all post-intervention time points compared to the control group, starting from 30min after the first application of cabbage leaves (mean difference=-0.38, p=0.016) or gel packs (mean difference=-0.39, p=0.013). When compared to the control group, mothers in the cabbage leaves group had significant reductions in the hardness of breasts at all post-intervention time points, and mothers in the gel packs group had significant reductions in the hardness of breasts at two time points (1h and 2h after the first and second application, respectively). Mothers in the cabbage leaves group had significant reductions in pain (mean difference=-0.53, p=0.005) and hardness of breasts (mean difference=-0.35, p=0.003) at 2h after the second application compared to those in the gel packs group. Both interventions had no impact on body temperature. There was no significant difference in the durations of breastfeeding for mothers among the three groups at 3-month and 6-month follow-up. More mothers were very satisfied/satisfied with the breast engorgement care provided in the cabbage leaves group compared to the other groups.
While cold cabbage leaves and cold gel packs can relieve pain and hardness in breast engorgement, the former had better effect, which can be recommended to postnatal mothers to manage breast engorgement
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