Background Pain relief is associated to biological, sociocultural and psychological factors. Supporters of preparation for childbirth claim that the main causes of pain result from the triad fear, tension and pain.
Objectives To determine if mothers using the psychoprophylactic method of childbirth perceive less pain than those not prepared, and analyse the influence of age and self-concept in the perception of pain in labour.
Methods This was a comparative, cross-sectional study with a sample of 103 mothers (50 prepared, 53 unprepared). The data collection instruments include a questionnaire with a socio demographic and obstetric characterization and scale of self-concept of Vaz Serra. Pain was assessed with a numerical scale, on three occasions (beginning of labour, active phase and postpartum).
Results The unprepared mothers perceive more pain in early labour and active phase. The prepared mothers reveal more pain in the immediate postpartum, with statistically significant differences in the onset and active phase of labour. The age of the prepared mothers does not influence the perception of pain at the beginning of labour and in the immediate postpartum; in the unprepared mothers it does not influence the active and post-partum phases. In prepared parturients, increase in self-concept decreases the perception of pain, while unprepared mothers do not reveal statistically significant differences.
Conclusions As a preparation for childbirth decreases the perception of pain, we recommend this method to be implemented in services monitoring the health of pregnant women.
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