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Keywords:

  • labour;
  • analgesia;
  • maternal control

Summary

  • This paper examines a selection of the recent literature on the control of pain in labour in terms of the source of that control and its effectiveness.
  • Emphasis is given to the effect of analgesia on the mother's ability to control her childbirth experience.
  • Reliable research detailing the effects of more commonly used, less invasive methods of pain control is lacking.
  • The effects of analgesia are considered in terms of controlling pain, effects on the fetus/baby, effects on the progress of labour and the woman's ability to maintain self control.
  • There are difficulties inherent in providing the mother with suitably wide-ranging information.
  • To have the most benefit, research-based information would need to be available to the mother when she is both seeking it and able to utilize it.