A Comparison of Women's Expectations of Labor with the Actual Event


  • Karen Stolte R.N., Ph.D., C.N.M.

    1. Karen Stolte, R.N., Ph.D., C.N.M., is Professor in the College of Nursing, University of Oklahoma, P. O. Box 26901, Oklahoma City, OK 73190.
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ABSTRACT: In an interview administered 24 to 72 hours postpartum, 70 women were asked to rate how similar their birth experience was to their expectations and to describe how the event was similar to, or different from, their expectations. Only 27 percent of the subjects described their overall experience as “about like” expected. Unfulfilled expectations of pain relief were a prominent theme among the 978 responses categorized. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.