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Preparation for pain management during childbirth: The psychological aspects of coping strategy development in antenatal education

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JournalClinical psychology review
DatePublished - Nov 2009
Issue number7
Volume29
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)617-622
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

During childbirth, in addition to or in place of analgesia, women manage pain using a range of coping strategies. Antenatal education provides an opportunity prior to birth to help women to prepare for an often painful event. However, this is usually carried out with little reference to the literature regarding psychological factors which influence the experience of pain. This review seeks to consider how recent developments in psychological knowledge could enhance care. Areas identified include range of coping strategies and factors influencing their efficacy and implementation. This draws on both the literature on management of acute pain in other scenarios and the limited literature related to childbirth related pain. The following recommendations for systematic evaluation in the context of antenatal education are made: (i) Increase the range of coping strategies currently utilized to include cognitive based strategies. (ii) Help women to identify and understand the nature of their own coping styles and preferences, including any unhelpful patterns of pain catastrophizing. (iii) Help women to develop their own unique set of coping strategies for labor. (iv) Strengthen feelings of coping self-efficacy by practice in class and reinforcement by the class teacher. (v) Develop implementation intentions which account for the changing context of childbirth and (vi) Actively develop prompting and reinforcement of use of identified coping strategies by birth partners. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

    Research areas

  • Childbirth, Acute pain, Pain coping strategies, PERCEIVED SELF-EFFICACY, PLANNED BEHAVIOR, LABOR PAIN, IMPLEMENTATION INTENTIONS, COGNITIVE STRATEGIES, DISTRACTION, MECHANISMS, EXPERIENCE, ANALGESIA, EXPECTANCIES

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