Stress, Pain, and Catecholamines in Labor: Part 2. Stress Associated with Childbirth Events: A Pilot Survey of New Mothers


  • Penny Simkin P. T.

    Corresponding author
    1. Penny Simkin, BA, PT, is a childbirth educator. She is President of Pennypress publishers and a consultant to Seattle Midwifery School and the International Childbirth Education Association. She is co-author of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, co-editor of Episiotomy and the Second Stage of Labor, and on the editorial staff of Birth.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address inquiries to Ms. Simkin at 1100 23rd. Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112.


ABSTRACT: A convenience sample of 159 women, all between 10 days and 2 months postpartum, filled out the Childbirth Events Stress Survey. All had attended the childbirth classes of the author during 1982 through mid-1985. Only those who had had vaginal births in the hospital were included in the results. Those labor events most frequently described as highly stressful were: induction or augmentation with pitocin; administration of anesthesia; restriction to bed; restriction of movement in bed; forceps and vacuum extractor delivery; limited time with the baby; and circumcision. Because excessive stress is detrimental to labor progress and fetal and neonatal well-being, alternatives to these stressful policies and procedures are suggested. Many stressful events are done without indication and may thus be eliminated.