Perception of Labour Pain Among Parturients at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Southern-Nigeria

Norbert Ndubuisi Unamba, Blessing Chidinma Unamba, Preye Fiebai



BACKGROUND: Labour pain is the result of a complex and subjective interaction of multiple physiologic and psychosocial factors on a woman's individual interpretation of labour stimuli but little data exist in the South-southern part of Nigeria regarding pain perception and relief in labour, despite its obvious advantages.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the perception of labour pains by parturient at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). We also sought to determine the adequacy of analgesia administered to parturients at UPTH.

METHODS:  These subjects were administered a structured questionnaire to obtain their demographic information. Their perception of labour pain and adequacy of analgesia were objectively evaluated pre- and post-vaginal delivery using the visual analogue scale (VAS).

 RESULTS: Majority (75%) of the respondents perceived labour pains as severe, 23% perceived it as moderate, while 1.7% perceived labour pains as mild. Thirty-two percent of the respondents received counselling during the antenatal period on the nature of labour pains and on the availability of intra-partum analgesia. However, 84.4% of those counselled perceived labour pains as severe, while 71.1% of those not counselled perceived it as severe. Two hundred and four (68%) of the parturients received some form of analgesia, of which majority was intramuscular pentazocine with only 5.9% expressing satisfaction with the adequacy of analgesia.

 CONCLUSION: Most of the partruients perceived labour as a very painful process. The nulliparous and primiparous were more likely to feel more intense pain than the multiparous parturient.  The adequacy of analgesia was however grossly inadequate with only 5.9% expressing satisfaction. 



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