J Nurs Acad Soc.  1991 Apr;21(1):41-49.

The Meaning of Pain in Labor


From of old, labor has been accompanied by pain and much effort has been mode to eliminate or diminish the amounts of pain during labor. Little concern has yet been given to the subjective meaning of pain in labor. Recently, rates of cesarean section in Korea and in some other nations have increased rapidly and some investigators are reporting negative reactions such as anger, disappointment and feeling of loss due to lack of control over labor and its pain. These findings are thought to suggest that control of labor and its pain gives some meaning to the laboring woman. Thus the investigators sought of discover the meaning of pain during labor for Korean women. Specific objectives of this study were to explore the meaning of pain in labor in labor in labor to the mothers, their reactions to the experience of labor and their preference for delivery method. The subjects of this study were 95 mothers who delivered their babies in hospital from September 989 to May 1990 : 45 gave birth by vaginal delivery, and 50 by cesarean section. Data were gathered through direct interviews by the investigators, and questions were focused on five areas i.e. mothers' feelings about delivery and their babies, their feelings about of having more children, the most difficult aspect about this labor and delivery, and what they though the differences were between vaginal delivery and cesarean section. After interview, mothers' answer were summarized, and classified according to the degree of positive or negative attitude. To ascertain the difference in meaning of labor pains and reaction to delivery experience between mothers delivered vaginally and by cesarean section a Median test was done using an SAS. Results were as follows. 1. More mothers who had delivered vaginally realized that they "have became a mother" than those who had a cesarean section(X2=8.409, df=3, p=0.038). 2. Immediate reaction to their delivery experience was more positive for mothers who had a cesarean section. 3. These Korean mothers expressed preference for vaginal delivery. Suggestions for further research on the meaning for mothers of their experience of labor, and on the meaning of pain for mothers who have a cesarean section were made.

MeSH Terms

Cesarean Section
Interviews as Topic
Labor, Obstetric/*physiology/psychology
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