Pain-free childbirth doesn’t square up with expectations

March 17th, 2008 - 2:45 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 17(IANS) A pain-free, drug-free labour where they are in total control is what many expectant mothers dream of. But it is a dream far removed from reality, says a new study. As a result, these women are ill prepared for what might happen and are disappointed when the birth does not go according to plan, reports ScienceDaily.

“People involved in antenatal care should listen to women’s hopes for labour whilst also preparing them for what might actually happen during labour,” said Joanne Lally of Newcastle University, who led the investigation.

“Plans for a labour free of pain relief need to be complemented by preparing women for the possibility that they might need pain relief,” she said.

The university research team studied published literature on women’s expectations and experience of pain and pain relief in labour.

They found that a gap exists between expectations and experience in four key areas: the level and type of pain, access to pain relief, the level of participation in and control over decision-making, and the level of control during labour.

Most of the literature reviewed showed that women underestimate the intensity of the pain they will experience and sometimes hold an unrealistic ideal for a drug-free labour.

Indeed, in one study, more than half of the women interviewed who said they would not use pain relief actually did use it.

“Our analysis highlights the importance of antenatal education. It can empower women to have realistic expectations and make informed decisions,” said the author.

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