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J Perinat Educ. 2003 Spring;12(2):16-21.

Exploring Women's Preferences for Labor Epidural Analgesia.

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  • M ary A nn S tark is an assistant professor in the Bronson School of Nursing at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


The purpose of this study was to explore demographic factors related to women's prenatal preferences for using an epidural during labor. Women recruited from prenatal classes provided data for this descriptive correlational study. Women with the most education, income, and parity indicated greatest preference for epidural analgesia. Thus, these women may be comfortable with the technology and most likely to be willing to pay for epidurals and to select care providers who provide epidural anesthesia. In this sample, prenatal preference for an epidural was not predictive of actual use, although it has been shown to be predictive in previous research.

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