Monday night, in class I was discussing pain relief in depth I happened to mention I had recently read that around 75% of women use gas and air in labour. I was sharing the statistic because I was shocked by it, but equally it felt like a true representation of what I have seen in practice. Anyway, I was then asked ‘What percentage of women choose pethidine in labour?’ Which naturally led to the curiosity of the uptake of epidural anaesthesia and other options. I did not know the answer. I could have made an educated guess but, I like finding out the facts and I have to admit I too was curious.
I was not expecting to find what I did.
After some searching the best piece of recent, UK based work I found was by the Care Quality Commision (CQC) 2018. I have linked the paper at the bottom. They asked a good sample of 17,600 women to share their experiences of the maternity care they received.
14,821 went on to answer the questions regarding pain relief in 2018. All planned c-sections were removed from the statistics. The findings were amazing to me. I have created a very simple chart based on their findings to help you understand the results at a quick glance. For the waterbirth statistic I had to pull the findings from the CQC 2015 survey as the 2018 survey didn’t seem to mention this popular choice.
Remember some of these women would have chosen more than one method. Unfortunately, we cannot find out how many women succeeded with using one method.
On the whole I think statistics are great. Mainly because we can learn from them.
For me, seeing this has left me questioning why? Don’t get me wrong, I want to make it very clear that there is NO WEAKNESS in requiring pain relief especially if 90 % of us need some sort of help when giving birth. This aside, I can’t help but wonder why 90% of us need pain relief? The body is supposed to be perfectly designed for birth isn’t it?
Is fear and anxiety getting in they way? Is it habit? Could it be a lack of support, trust, continuity, self-belief, education, community? Perhaps it is all of this? …Or, just maybe, we are designed with the idea that we would receive support from something or SOMEONE in labour.
What do you think?
I am excited to see that around 30% choose to use Hypnosis and breathing techniques to help with their discomfort.
Expectant parents need to learn about all of their pain relief options, in depth prior to labour and birth.
Have you thought about your options? Trust me labour is not the time to learn. Join a Talking Babies, Midwife Led Hypnobirhting or Antenatal course today and we will share all we know.