Childbirth is a joyful event, but it exposes the mother to one of the severest forms of pain reported. Many hospitals in Nigeria have no protocol for labour pain relief, hence obstetric analgesia is underutilized. This study was designed to assess the Labour pain management practices in two tertiary hospitals in south west Nigeria.
This was a cross-sectional study involving 132 pregnant women who had vaginal delivery. A structured questionnaire was administered to women within 24 hours of delivery to record details of labour and delivery; and the form of labour analgesia administered. Labour pain perception was assessed using the Visual Analogue Score (VAS). Data analysis was done using IBM?SPSS Statistics for Windows version 21.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA).
The mean age of the parturients was 30.6±4.8years. Sixty-six (50%) women rated labour pain to be severe (VAS 7.1).Thirty eight women (28.8%) did not receive any pain relief method. Non-pharmacological pain management practices such as back massage, breathing exercises and companionship were administered to 45(34.1%), 79 (59.8%), and 45 (34.1%) women respectively. Only 9 women (6.8%) received pain medications for labour analgesia. Back massage method had the highest proportion of women who were satisfied with pain relief (82.2%). The odds of perceiving labour pain as severe were 2.1, 1.2, 1.4 and 2.1 in women who requested for back massage, breathing exercise, companionship and pain medications respectively. Majority of the respondents 114(86.4%) expressed desire for more effective pain management techniques in their future pregnancies.
Labour pain management in South west Nigeria commonly involves use of non-pharmacological methods with only occasional use of pain medications. There is need for development of organized obstetric analgesia services to cater for the large proportion of women who desire more effective methods of labour analgesia.
The Findings of this study will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development objective of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including information and education and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.