Background Labour can represent one of the most painful events in most women’s lifetime. There’s an abundance of literature about active labour pain, its management and women’s reaction to labour pain.
Pain acceptance in labour is the willingness to experience pain. Personal control is a) the feeling of being in control as opposed to staff being in control. b) Having input into decision making governing pain medication. C) Use of personal coping resources to cope with labour pain.
Method 79 postnatal women were invited to participate in the study and asked to complete questionnaires about their expectations of and the reality of the latent phase of labour.
Results 36 women (45%) were primiparous, 44 (55%) were multiparous. 52 women experienced the latent phase.
Negative feelings e.g. nervousness, anxiety, irritability; Positive feelings e.g. relaxed, calm, coping, excited. 23/79 (29%) attended an antenatal class.
Conclusions Many described finding the pain difficult because methods of analgesia they had been told about were unavailable at home. Memories of labour pain can evoke intense negative reactions in a few women, but are more likely to give rise to positive consequences related to coping, self-efficacy, and self-esteem due to pain acceptance. Effective home based therapies for pregnant women may hold the key to latent phase pain management.
References Christiaens, et al. Pain acceptance and personal control in pain relief in two maternity care models: a cross national comparison of Belgium and the Netherlands. BMC Health Services Research 2010; 10:268
Niven, et al. Memory for Labour Pain: A Review of the Literature. BIRTH 27;4 December 2000:244–253
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