Pain relief in labour in Great Britain and Ireland
The newly diagnosed pregnant mother is usually filled with curiosity about both the physical changes that will occur over the forthcoming months and the process of actually delivering her baby. Childbirth education is a major industry in both Great Britain and Ireland. Bookshops offer a large variety of pregnancy and childcare manuals and the National Childbirth Trust is a very successful enterprise offering antenatal and postnatal care and support to mothers. In the past many articles and book chapters on pain relief in labour failed to inform the mother in simple language about what she might expect to experience in her first and subsequent labours. Articles that place the same emphasis on the value of aromatherapy and homeopathy as on pharmacological analgesia during labour serve more to mislead than to educate.1 A more honest and open appraisal of pain in labour combined with statistics on the uptake of the various methods of pain relief would be of greater benefit to a woman than the carefully selected anecdotes of an author whose ideas have been polarised by her own experiences of childbirth. Whilst some excellent and informative lay publications are now available, relevant and up-to-date medical statistics on all aspects of labour are often inaccessible.
KeywordsCaesarean Section Pain Relief Epidural Analgesia Caesarean Section Rate Maternity Unit
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