The pain of labour: Perspectives of traditional birth attendants in Edo State, Nigeria

  • C.O. Imarengiaye
  • G.U. Otojahi
  • T.N. Otene
  • V.Y. Adam


Objective: To determine the concept of labour pain and its relief in a cultural setting using the perspectives of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
Design: Cross Sectional Comparative Study.
Setting: An urban area (Benin City) and a semi-urban town (Auchi) in Edo State, Nigeria.
Subjects: Traditional Birth Attendants in an urban area (Benin City) and a  semi-urban town (Auchi) were identified using  information from a local directory and a respondent driven sampling method.
Results: A total of 58 TBAs (37 in Benin and 21 in Auchi) were interviewed. Most
TBAs, 36 (97.3%) in Benin and 21 (100.0%) in Auchi, agreed that there is pain during labour. Almost all the TBAs, 34 (94.4%) in Benin and 21 (100,0%) in Auchi, reported that labour pain could be severe. Most of the TBAs, 31(83.8%) in Benin and 20 (95.2%) in Auchi reported that their clients request for pain relief in labour. Use of oral herbs was the most common method of pain relief in labour amongst the TBAs, 12(32.2%) in Benin and 20(100.0%) in Auchi. Most of the TBAs in Benin, 19(61.3%) offer nothing for labour pain, when pain relief is sought by their clients.
Conclusion: Labour is considered painful in our culture and most women desire relief. TBAs in semi-urban setting used herbal remedies more readily than their urban counterparts. Efforts should be made at providing comfort to all women in labour irrespective of the location of delivery.

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