Pain and suffering in labour and birth

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Unless treated, pain is a nearly universal experience in childbirth. Expectant mothers are typically regaled with tales from female relatives, friends, and strangers alike about their experiences of labour pain. But, despite expectations of pain in labour, the searing nature of that pain can often take women by surprise. As one Australian mother put it recently, labour pain was ‘more [and] different pain that I had ever imagined.’ Her pain transmuted into real suffering, becoming physically unbearable and emotionally unmanageable. This chapter hones in on how women narrate pain and suffering as part of a process of making meaning of their experiences of labour and birth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPaths To Parenthood
Subtitle of host publicationEmotions on the Journey through Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Early Parenthood
EditorsRenata Kokanovic, Paula A. Michaels, Kate Johnston-Ataata
Place of PublicationGateway East Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789811301438
ISBN (Print)9789811301421
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2018


  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Trauma
  • Birth
  • Labour

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