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The meanings of labour pain or the layers of an onion? A woman-oriented view

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Pain has been shown to be invested with a multiplicity of meanings. This applies to labour pain as much as to any other. The meanings of pain in general and of labour pain in particular are examined in terms of religion, philosophy, spirituality, biology and culture. The possibility of the existence of political meanings is considered. An attempt is made to distinguish the meaning of labour pain for the carers and for the woman. The possibility that searching for meaning serves as a coping mechanism is explored. The argument is advanced that an understanding of the meaning of labour pain to the woman in labour is a fundamental prerequisite if the midwife is to facilitate the woman's achievement of a satisfying birth experience.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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