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Keywords:

  • childbirth;
  • labour pain;
  • pain relief;
  • personal control;
  • satisfaction;
  • expectations of pain;
  • parity;
  • social class;
  • education;
  • maternity services

Satisfaction in childbirth and perceptions of personal control in pain relief during labour¶Satisfaction in childbirth is influenced by individual and environmental factors. Of specific interest in this study is the extent to which women feel that they have been able to control what happened to them during labour. The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of personal control on women's satisfaction with pain relief during labour. A questionnaire-based retrospective study of women's pain experiences within 48 hours of delivery was carried out on the postnatal ward of one teaching hospital in Northern Ireland. One hundred women who had had a vaginal delivery consented to take part in the study. Two main measures were used in the study; personal control in and satisfaction with pain relief during labour. The key finding of this study indicates that feelings of personal control influenced positively the women's satisfaction with pain relief during labour. Demographic and other psycho-social variables had little impact on the women's satisfaction scores. These findings have implications for clinical practice and for the management of maternity services and are discussed.