Patient Education and Counseling | VOL. 107
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Women’s beliefs of pain after childbirth: Critical insight for promoting behavioral strategies to regulate pain and reduce risks for maternal mortality

Publication Date Feb 1, 2023

Abstract

Promoting behavioral strategies to better regulate pain and decrease the use of prescription pain medications immediately after childbirth is an attractive approach to reduce risks for adverse outcomes associated with the maternal mortality crisis. This study aimed to understand women's beliefs and experiences about pain management to identify important insights for promoting behavioral strategies to control postpartum pain. N=32 postpartum women participated in a semi-structured interview about beliefs/experiences with managing postpartum pain. Higher- and lower-order themes were coded; descriptive statistics were used to summarize results. Major trends emerging from the data were: (1) most women used a combination of medications (e.g., oxycodone and acetaminophen) and behavioral strategies (e.g., physical activity) in the hospital (94 %) and at discharge (83 %); (2) some women reported disadvantages like negative side effects of medications and fatigue from physical activity; and (3) some women reported they would have preferred to receive more evidence-based education on behavioral strategies during prenatal visits. Our findings showed that most women were prescribed medications while in the hospital and at discharge, and used non-prescription, behavioral strategies. Future research is needed to test behavioral strategies in randomized clinical trials and clinical care settings to identify impact on reducing adverse maternal health outcomes.

Concepts

Use Of Prescription Pain Medications Behavioral Strategies Beliefs Of Pain Lower-order Themes Postpartum Pain Women's Beliefs Evidence-based Education Physical Activity Women's Experiences Prenatal Visits

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