Clark CJ, Kalanaviciute G, Bartholomew V, Cheyne H & Hundley VA (2022) Exploring pain characteristics in nulliparous women; A precursor to developing support for women in the latent phase of labour. Midwifery, 104, Art. No.: 103174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2021.103174
Admission to hospital in the latent phase of labour is associated with a cascade of unnecessary intervention. Women who seek early hospital admission may have heightened fear and anxiety in relation to pain routed in their pre-pregnancy experiences.
To determine the prevalence of pain catastrophising in a healthy non-pregnant population and explore previous pain experiences and fear of childbirth as characteristics that might predict pain catastrophising.
Prospective observational study across two higher education institutions in Scotland and England using a semi-structured survey administered through Bristol Online Surveys. Four validated questionnaires were used to identify the prevalence of pain catastrophising and fear of childbirth in nulliparous women of reproductive age.
The survey was completed by 122 women undertaking an undergraduate degree and aged between 18 and 23 years. A high prevalence of pain catastrophising was found: a cut-off score of 20 and above = 47.5% (58/122 participants), a cut-off score of 30 and above = 21.3% (26/122). Fear of pain (β = 0.14, t = 4.21, p < 0 .001) and pain-related anxiety (β = 0.40, t = 11.39, p < 0 .001) were significant predictors of pain catastrophisation. However, there was no correlation between fear of childbirth and pain catastrophisation.
Conclusions and implications for practice
It is reasonable to hypothesise that the pain catastrophising scale may be a good tool to predict those women likely to require additional support in the latent phase of labour; however further work is needed to explore this with a group of pregnant women.
Pain catastrophising; PredictTool; Latent labour
Midwifery: Volume 104
|Publication date online||31/10/2021|
|Date accepted by journal||17/10/2021|