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Chronic pain related to childbirth

Title

Chronic pain related to childbirth

Background

Chronic pain is a global health problem among women but there is still insufficient awareness and knowledge regarding this issue. Pregnancy and labour often entail pain and tissue damage. It is well established that an episode of acute pain, for instance, caused by trauma or surgery, may lead to development of chronic pain. Chronic pain is a leading source of human suffering and disability and may have negative consequences for individuals, their families, and society. In many cases, chronic pain leads to decreased quality of life and is associated with higher ratings of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, complicated family relationships as well as an increased need for health care. Studies indicate that there is a link between long-term pain following childbirth and an increased risk of developing postpartum depression. Knowledge about chronic pain and dyspareunia after childbirth is still limited.

Aim

The aim of this study is to explore the prevalence of chronic pain eight months after childbirth. The characteristics of chronic pain, such as pain intensity, localization and frequency as well as pain interference with daily activities were examined. Further aims are to explore women’s experiences of pain and of health care.

Method

This study is conducted as a prospective, longitudinal cohort study with both quantitative and quantitative approach. Data are obtained through two self-administered questionnaires, by semi-structured interviews and via the patient record system Obstetrix. Descriptive statistics are used for analysis of numerical data and content analysis is applied to the qualitative data.

Relevance

This study can raise awareness among healthcare providers of this clinical problem as well as to revise and upgrade education regarding pain after childbirth to prevent potential long-term health problems, women’s suffering and increased need for health care. The development of strategies for prevention, follow-up and treatment of pain is warranted. The survey may also be a starting point for developing of strategies for prevention, monitoring and treatment of chronic pain as well as intervention studies.

Foundation

Sophiahemmet University and Sophiahemmet Research Found.

Responsible for the project

Susanne Georgson, professor, Röda Korset Högskola, Beata Molin, PhD student Sophiahemmet Högskola, Anna-Karin Berger, PhD, Röda Korset Högskola, Anna Sand, PhD, Karolinska Institutet.