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East African Medical Journal

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Perception of Labour Pain among Rural Women Presenting to A Tertiary Hospital in Kenya

W Waweru-Siika

Abstract


Background: Childbirth results in severe pain for many women. In many hospitals in Resource-Limited Countries (RLCs), women endure the pain of labour with little or no pain relief. There have not been any studies done within 36 hours of a recent delivery to determine how rural Kenyan women perceive the pain of labour, and whether they have embraced the concept of labour analgesia.
Objectives: To find out how rural women who had recently given birth at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) rate the severity of their pain, and whether the expectations of these women with regards to pain relief for labour were met.
Design: A retrospective cohort study.
Setting: The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) post-natal wards.
Subjects: Women who had had a normal vaginal delivery in the preceding 36 hours.
Interventions: A structured questionnaire was administered.
Results: Three hundred and eighy nine women who fulfilled the eligibility criteria were interviewed. Two hundred and eighty seven (73.8%) of 389 women rated their pain as severe to unbearable. Only 43 (11.0%) received any labour analgesia. This was in the form of an anti-spasmodic injection (Buscopan®). Thirty four (79%) of the 43 women who received an anti-spasmodic rated the pain relief obtained as good to very good. The level of knowledge of possible labour analgesia options was very low. Three hundred and thirty four (86%) of 389 women indicated that they would want to be given analgesia for future deliveries.
Conclusion: The majority of rural women who give birth at the MTRH do so without any labour analgesia. Although the level of knowledge is low regarding possible labour analgesia options, the majority of these women would welcome medical intervention that would reduce their discomfort. There is need to  establish a formal labour analgesia service at MTRH and to educate rural Kenyan women on the various labour analgesia options, to enable them make informed choices regarding their use.



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