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Women not prepared for labour

Most women are ill prepared for the reality of labour and birthing pains, research shows.

Experts have found that women's labour experiences differ markedly from their expectations and call on women to realistic view of giving birth.

Study author Joanne Lally said: “People involved in antenatal care should listen to women's hopes for labour while also preparing them for what might actually happen during labour.

“Plans for a labour free of pain relief need to be complemented by preparing women for the possibility that they might need pain relief.

“Education can help to fill the gap between expectation and experience and thus ensure women are realistically prepared for their birthing experience.”

Women were poorly informed of the level and type of pain and access to pain relief during labour.

The authors concluded: “If women can be better educated they can express their preferences but also be aware that things may not always go to plan.

“they can then be prepared for different eventualities and so make more realistic decisions and have a better experience.”

BMC Medicine