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Women's experience of pain during childbirth
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
1998 (English)In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 14, no 2, 105-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To describe women's experience of pain during childbirth.

DESIGN: A qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. Data were collected by tape-recorded interviews.

SETTING: An Alternative Birth Care Centre at a university hospital in Sweden in 1995.

PARTICIPANTS: Nine women, four primiparous and five multiparous who were two to four days post delivery.

KEY FINDINGS: Four themes were identified in the meanings of experience: (1) pain is hard to describe and is contradictory; (2) trust in oneself and one's body; (3) trust in the midwife and husband; and (4) transition to motherhood. The essential structure of the studied phenomenon was described as 'being one's body', which includes a non-objectifying view of the body, a presence in the delivery process, and a meaning connected to the transition to motherhood.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The women felt that pain was a natural part of the delivery process, and that the strength and power to cope with it came from within the women. A conclusion is that midwives can help birthing women to find their own ability to cope, and should interfere only if the woman asks or if the natural process is disturbed, e.g. by complications. The experience of pain during childbirth, together with the experience of strength during childbirth, gives meaning to the transition to motherhood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1998. Vol. 14, no 2, 105-110 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-89843PubMedID: 10382479OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-89843DiVA: diva2:161650
Available from: 2002-04-26 Created: 2002-04-26 Last updated: 2013-08-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Releasing and relieving encounters: Experiences of pregnancy and childbirth
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Releasing and relieving encounters: Experiences of pregnancy and childbirth
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The experience of childbirth is an important life event for women, which may follow them throughout life. The overall aim of this thesis has been to describe and analyse these experiences from the women's perspective as well as the encounter between the woman and the midwife, and the possibility that a birth plan might improve women's experience of childbirth. The setting has been the ABC-centre (Alternative Birth Care), antenatal clinics and Sahlgrenska University hospital in Göteborg, and Karolinska hospital in Stockholm, Sweden. The studies have used both qualitative (phenomenological and hermeneutic) and quantitative approaches. The essential structure of the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth may be conceptualised under the heading ‘releasing and relieving encounters’, which for the woman constitutes an encounter with herself as well as with the midwife, and includes stillness as well as change. Stillness is expressed as being in the moment; exemplified as presence and being one's body. Change is expressed as transition; to the unknown and to motherhood. In the releasing and relieving encounter, for the midwife stillness and change equals being both anchored and a companion. To be a companion is to be an available person that listens to and follows the woman through the process of childbirth. To be anchored is to be the person that in the transition process respects the limits of the woman's ability as well as her own professional limits. The releasing and relieving encounter is not improved for women by a birth plan. Instead, in some aspects the relationship between the woman and her midwife during childbirth is reported as less satisfactory if preceded by a birth plan although some experiences of fear, pain and concerns for the child might be improved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2002. 75 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 0282-7476 ; 1143
Obstetrics and gynaecology, pregnancy, childbirth, women's experiences, encounter, pain, birth plan, hermeneutic, phenomenological, intervention study, Obstetrik och kvinnosjukdomar
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-2022 (URN)91-554-5292-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2002-05-23, Rosén-salen, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala, 09:15
Available from: 2002-04-26 Created: 2002-04-26Bibliographically approved

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