In a setting with a wider than usual variety of available labor pain relief methods, a prospective, descriptive study was conducted of labor pain relief methods desired by low-risk women prenatally, during labor, and at delivery.
Of all women registering for care between 2017 and 2020, a total of 2562 women were screened for low-risk status and then offered study participation, if eligible. Of 1185 eligible women, 512 remained at low risk until admission in labor and completed the study. Pain relief methods chosen were compared with the type of labor, type of delivery, and between delivery sites.
Hydrotherapy and a “none/unmedicated” labor were favored by a majority of subjects, regardless of ultimate method used. Multiple labor pain relief methods were used by 54.5% of subjects. Epidural analgesia most often occurred with augmented labor. Hydrotherapy was used more by those with spontaneous labors, water birth deliveries, and birth center births. Effectiveness of all pain relief measures was rated above average. Differences between planned hospital and planned birth center births were clear on most variables. Results can be used by childbirth educators, health professionals, and administrators to respect and improve the individualization of care and satisfaction of laboring women.