oa South African Family Practice - Knowledge of and attitude towards pain relief during labour of women attending the antenatal clinic of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, South Africa : original research
Background: This study determined women's knowledge of and attitudes to pain relief during labour.
Methods: This descriptive study included 151 women, 18 years or older, attending the antenatal clinic of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital. Women were interviewed using a questionnaire that determined their knowledge of and attitudes regarding pain relief.
Results: The median age of the women was 29 years and most was pregnant for a second or third time. More than half the women (56.3%) indicated that they knew about pain relief and most had received their information from a previous labour experience (56.5%) or from friends and relatives (55.3%). Of the women who had knowledge of pain relief (n=85), 65.9% indicated injections. Half the women (51.7%) believed that they should experience mild pain, however, while 55.7% had experienced severe pain during previous labour and 65.3% of these had found the experience to be unacceptable. Most women (59.8%) who had been pregnant were not told what to expect when in labour. Of those who had been told (n=41), 75.6% found the information useful. The women who had previously delivered in a health facility rated the service received in relieving labour pain as fair (47.3%) and good (31.2%). Most of the women (99.3%) believed that the staff had an important role to play in helping to relieve labour pain. Most of the women (78%) expressed no concern about problems associated with pain relief methods, while a large number (83.4%) expressed little or no confidence in labour pain relief.
Conclusion: Most of the women gained knowledge regarding pain relief from past experiences or from friends and relatives. Even though the few women who received information about what to expect during labour found the information useful, most expressed little confidence in labour pain relief.
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