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Childbirth pain underestimated

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Nurses and midwives need to ensure first-time mothers have a greater understanding of the pain of childbirth, claims a report by Newcastle University.

Most women underestimate this pain and are often not prepared for labour, according to a literature review published online in BMC Medicine.

The authors found most women wanted a pain relief-free labour but needed interventions. In one study more than half of the women who opted not to have pain relief, ending up using it.

‘All the evidence shows that the more informed a woman is about labour, the less pain she will feel and she will have a better birth experience,’ said RCM deputy general secretary Louise Silverton.

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