Papers And Short Reports

Effectiveness of pain relief in labour: survey of 1000 mothers

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: (Published 11 September 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:689
  1. Barbara Morgan,
  2. C J Bulpitt,
  3. P Clifton,
  4. P J Lewis


    The amount of pain that had been experienced by 1000 women during vaginal delivery of a live child was determined by interview within 48 hours of delivery. Patients had been offered a choice of analgesia, and 536 had received epidural analgesia: pain relief was greatest in this group, just over half having had a painless labour. The duration of pain was also reduced by a third in this group even though patients who had received an epidural block had tended to have longer labour and an incidence of assisted delivery of 51% compared with 6% in the remainder. Seventy-two per cent of the patients receiving an epidural had had as much pain as they had expected. A similar proportion (70%) was reported with simpler analgesic methods, suggesting that women may expect a certain amount of pain in labour and request further analgesic treatment when this is exceeded.