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Giving Birth With Epidural Analgesia: The Experience of First-Time Mothers

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Abstract:

The purpose of our qualitative descriptive study was to describe the birth experiences of women using epidural analgesia for pain management. We interviewed nine primiparas who experienced vaginal births. Five themes emerged: (a) coping with pain, (b) finding epidural administration uneventful, (c) feeling relief having an epidural, (d) experiencing joy, and (e) having unsettled feelings of ambivalence. Although epidural analgesia was found to be effective for pain relief and may contribute to some women’s satisfaction with the birth experience, it does not guarantee a quality birth experience. In order to support and promote childbearing women’s decision making, we recommend improved education on the variety of available pain management options, including their risks and benefits. Fostering a sense of caring, connection, and control in women is a key factor to ensure positive birth experiences, regardless of pain management method.

Keywords: childbirth education; childbirth experience; childbirth satisfaction; epidural analgesia; labor pain

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1891/1058-1243.21.1.24

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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