The pain of childbirth: perceptions of culturally diverse women

Pain Manag Nurs. 2003 Dec;4(4):145-54. doi: 10.1016/s1524-9042(03)00028-6.


The pain experiences of culturally diverse childbearing women are described based on a secondary analysis of narrative data from phenomenologic studies of the meaning of childbirth. Study participants were interviewed in the hospital after giving birth or in their homes within the first weeks after having a baby. Transcripts of interviews with childbearing women who lived in North and Central America, Scandinavia, the Middle East, the People's Republic of China, and Tonga were analyzed. Participants described their attitudes toward, perceptions of, and the meaning of childbirth pain. Culturally bound behavior in response to childbirth pain was also articulated. A variety of coping mechanisms were used by women to deal with the pain. Understanding the meaning of pain, women's perceptions of pain, and culturally bound pain behaviors is fundamental in order for nurses to facilitate satisfying birth experiences for culturally diverse women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Central America
  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Middle East
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Narration
  • North America
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / ethnology*
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / nursing
  • Pain / ethnology*
  • Pain / nursing
  • Parturition / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonga