Desire for obstetric analgesia among women in northern Nigeria
Background: Obstetric analgesia is now routinely provided in most developed countries. However, in developing countries including Nigeria, childbirth is still a painful natural process for most women without choice. This study determined labour pain perception, awareness and desire for obstetric analgesia among antenatal clients of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) in northern Nigeria.
Methods: A hospital based cross sectional study was conducted in the Antenatal clinic of AKTH from March to April 2010. Questionnaires were filled by verbal interviews conducted on 400 antenatal clients.
Results: Of those that have delivered at least once previously (n=284), majority (194, 68.3%) scored labour pain as severe 66(23.2%) said it was moderate while 24 (8.5%) claimed it was mild. Only 15% (n=59) of the
respondents were aware of at least one method of obstetric analgesia. The methods mentioned include Epidural (57.6%, n=34), injections (18.6%, n=11), breathing and relaxation (6.8%, n=4), social support (6.8%, n=4) and all the above methods mentioned (10.2%, n=6). Their main sources of information were friends (62.7%, n=37), books (17.0%, n=10), health worker (13.6%, n=8) and the Internet (6.8%, n=4). None have been offered any analgesia during labour. Majority 317 (79.3%) were desirous of pain relief during the delivery of their current pregnancy. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, educational attainment, ethnicity and awareness of methods of obstetric analgesia remained significant predictors of desire for obstetric analgesia.
Conclusion: There is a gross unawareness regarding pain relief in labour, but there is strong desire for same. Reforms in labour pain management are recommended offering parturients a range of safe methods to choose from.
Keywords: Labour pain, obstetric analgesia, awareness, desire, antenatal clients, Nigeria
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