Labour pain perception: experiences of Nigerian mothers

  • Adebayo Adekunle Akadri
  • Oluwaseyi Isaiah Odelola


Introduction: Labour pain perception is influenced by a variety of factors; hence women experience and cope with labour pain differently. This study was designed to assess labour pain perception among parturient.

Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 132 pregnant women who had vaginal delivery at two tertiary hospitals in south west Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was administered to women within 24 hours of delivery to record details of labour and delivery. Labour pain perception was assessed using the Visual Analogue Score (VAS). Data analysis were done using IBM-SPSS Statistics for Windows version 21.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).

Results: The mean age of the parturients was 30.6±4.8 years. The mean pain perception of the parturients as assessed by VAS was 7.0 with range of 1.2-10.0. Sixty-six (50%) parturients rated labour pain to be severe (VAS > 7.1). Majority of the respondents 114(86.4%) desired some form of pain relief. The Body Mass Index (BMI) of respondents and birth weight of their babies had statistically significant association with pain perception (p = 0.010; p = 0.038 respectively). Factors associated with increased odds of having severe pain perception include unbooked status, secondary level education, BMI < 30, and gestational age ≥ 37 weeks.

Conclusion: Women in south west Nigeria perceived labour pain as severe and many desired pain relief during labour. Occupation, BMI, gestational age and baby’s birth weight were significant mediating variables in women's experience of labour pain. Modern methods of labour analgesia should be offered to parturients who express desire for it. This will lead to improvements women's childbirth experience.

Keywords: Analgesia, labour pain, obstetric, perception

Author Biographies

Adebayo Adekunle Akadri
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
Oluwaseyi Isaiah Odelola
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1937-8688