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Abstract

This non-experimental study was designed to investigate the congruence between in-labor report and postpartum recall of labor pain as measured by the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Fifty married parturients, ages 19 to 39 at term with a normal pregnancy, served as subjects. Analysis of variance showed that postpartum report of labor pain on the Present Pain Intensity scale of the MPQ was not consistently congruent with pain reported during labor. In contrast, the Pain Rating Index of the MPQ provided postpartum data that was congruent with the in-labor report. Significant interaction effects, however, suggested that postpartally the women tended to devaluate the pain of early labor and inflate the pain of transitional labor when compared to their in-labor report. Theoretical and practical implications of the results for the measurement of labor pain are discussed.