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ARTICLE
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 258-261

Knowledge and perception of obstetric analgesia among prospective parturients at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital


Department of Anaesthesia, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
C I Okeke
Department of Anaesthesia, College of Medicine, University of Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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BACKGROUND: Natural labour is painful. Such pain has little value and is potentially harmful to the parturient and foetus. OBJECTIVE: To assess knowledge, perceptions and acceptance of obstetric analgesia among prospective parturients. The effect of age, educational status and parity on the above variables was evaluated. DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective cross-sectional study between October 2002 and April 2003 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients attending ante-natal clinics voluntarily responded to a structured questionnaire which enquired patient's age, educational status and parity; knowledge, perceptions and acceptance of obstetric analgesia. The association between the variables was determined with the Pearson's Chi square test. RESULT: Four hundred and fifty patients of varying educational levels were studied. Only 175 (38.9%) knew of obstetric analgesia. There was a significant association between educational status and knowledge of obstetric analgesia (p = 0.000). Two hundred and ninety four patients (65.3%) would accept analgesia during labour of which 179 (60.9%) would leave the choice to the doctor to give them the "best available". There was no association between age, educational status and parity with acceptance (p > 0.05). Reasons for rejection included labour being a 'natural process' in 15.1%, faith in divine intervention 6.0% and concerns about side effects 3.1%. CONCLUSION: This study has revealed a dearth of knowledge and gross misconception about obstetric analgesia. With proper education, many patients will accept some form of analgesia during labour. There is an urgent need to commence standard obstetric analgesia services in our tertiary hospitals.


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