Impact of Labor Epidural Analgesia on Maternal Satisfaction and Childbirth Expectations in a Tertiary Care Center in Portugal: A Prospective Study

Sofia Fernandes, João Galacho, Andreia Borrego, Daniela Pereira, Filipa Lança, Lucindo Ormonde

Abstract


Introduction: In the current century, increasing importance has been given to the opinions, expectations and experiences of women using healthcare services. The fulfillment of expectations is determined by satisfaction. This study aims to analyze both expectations and satisfaction during childbirth regarding labor epidural analgesia among parturients, with a focus on myths.
Material and Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in parturients at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte - Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, applying a questionnaire to 317 random women. SPSS v22.0 was used for data analysis.
Results: Three hundred questionnaires were returned, from women with a mean age of 31. Among the respondents, 46.3% had a college degree and 64% were employed, 46% were primiparas and only 14% had a previous anesthesiology appointment for childbirth purposes. The overall degree of satisfaction surrounding the birth experience was good/excellent for 87% of women. Labor epidural analgesia was performed on 96% of all patients, with an excellent/good outcome for 82.1% and a higher than expected results for 40.7% of them. Regarding the myths, 52.5% believed that epidural analgesia imposes a dose limit and 58.9% that it often causes permanent back pain. The level of education was significantly associated with some myths (p < 0.05), since women with a higher level of education do not believe most of them.
Discussion: This study supports the need for an evaluation of the current information that women have about labor epidural analgesia/childbirth. Women’s individual needs can be met by multidisciplinary teams including Anesthesiology specialists.
Conclusion: Maternal satisfaction with childbirth and analgesia is a complex and dynamic process that includes and is not limited to the relief of pain.


Keywords


Analgesia, Epidural; Labor, Obstetric; Labor Pain/psychology; Parturition/psychology; Patient Satisfaction

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