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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Sep;27(3):147-56.

Obstetric pain relief and its association with remembrance of labor pain at two months and one year after birth.

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Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


The association between obstetric pain relief and long-term memory of pain is poorly researched in spite of the fact that a woman's memory of childbirth may affect her emotional wellbeing and future reproduction. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between epidural analgesia and other forms of pain relief, and memory of pain at two months and one year after birth. A national sample of 2482 Swedish speaking women with vaginal delivery or emergency cesarean section preceded by labor were followed from early pregnancy to one year after birth. Data were collected by three postal questionnaires: in early pregnancy, and two months and one year after the birth. Recollection of intense pain at two months and one year was associated with high rates of pain relief, and this was most obvious regarding epidural analgesia in first-time mothers. When comparing women with the same pain score at two months postpartum who had and who did not have an epidural, the first group seemed to have greater difficulty forgetting pain 10 months later. Possible explanations of these findings are discussed.

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