The Psychological Context of Labour Pain

Jaroslava Raudenska (Editor)
2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Department of Clinical Psychology, Motol University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic

Alena Javůrková (Editor)
Motol University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic

Series: Pain and its Origins, Diagnosis and Treatments, Obstetrics and Gynecology Advances
BISAC: MED033000

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This book, written by Jaroslava Raudenská and Alena Javůrková, is a clear example of how to fill a gap existing in medical literature in a way simple and understandable for everybody. It reveals information about labour, starting from the origin of the “psychoprophilaxis” methods, the different stages through which the delivery has been transformed from a natural, tribal and primordial event (similar to any of the mammals species), to a human experience, in which the sentimental, social, educational and cultural experiences play a pivotal role. It helps to summarise the evolution of humankind. Someone used to say that humankind has evolved much more from the late 1950s to the present than any other period in history. This also applies to the approach to labour and delivery.

This is also the main reason why there has been such a tremendous reduction in perinatal mortality in the last six decades. The two authors have been excellent in focusing not only on the evolution of the approach to delivery, but also the pros and cons of different proposals that have come out to reduce pain, fear, and any other stressors surrounding the idea of delivering a baby. Their psychological approach is extremely well treated, but they do not forget also to focus on all the other aspects important to the wellbeing of pregnant women and their children. The main message, at least from the first chapters, is clear. Women must experience one of the most important moments of their lives in the best possible way. This is the main possibility to give them a positive background for their relationship with their children, especially in a chaotic society that is losing more and more values of the past.

One of those values is the joy to experience a natural vaginal delivery that has been replaced, especially in some countries, by the increasing desire to have a caesarean delivery. For this topic, the authors have dedicated a lot of energy, focusing not only on the social causes for such a mistaken attitude, but also with a clear analysis of how to escape from such a trap. The hedonistic aspects of the topic is well focused on and is clearly directed toward a deep thought on how this can negatively influence the relationship between mother and child. This book is a precious tool for any of professionals involved in studying childbearing in health care systems.
(Imprint: Nova Biomedical)

Preface

Chapter 1
The Sociocultural Context of the Value of Labour Pain
(Jaroslava Raudenská and Alena Javùrková, Clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist, Department of Nursing, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prague, the Czech Republic, and others)

Chapter 2
Psychological Aspects of Labour Pain
(Jaroslava Raudenská, Jana Amlerová & Alena Javùrková, Clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist, Department of Nursing, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prague, the Czech Republic, and others)

Chapter 3
Coping with Labour Pain
(Jaroslava Raudenská and Alena Javùrková, Clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist, Department of Nursing, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prague, the Czech Republic, and others)

Chapter 4
Fear and Labour Pain
(Jaroslava Raudenská, Antonella Paladini, Antonella Paladini, Clinical psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist, Department of Nursing, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prague, the Czech Republic, and others)

Chapter 5
Caesarean Section on Maternal Request
(Jaroslava Raudenská and Alena Javùrková, Department of Nursing, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Motol University Hospital, Prague, the Czech Republic, and others)

Chapter 6
Fear of Childbirth
(Edita Adamèíková, Iva Korábová, Lenka Lacinová, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, the Czech Republic, and others)

Index

"Two Czech psychologists joined their forces to create an international team and their joint effort resulted in a publication small in size (94 numbered pages), yet offering a unique content. On the book’s back cover, Professor Giustino Varrassi mentions (inter alia) two significant aspects of the book. One is the scientific approach and the other is the constant reference to the exceptionally human side of the topic. The reader must agree. It is not just about pain, however intimate the experience of pain may, undoubtedly, be; the book focuses on pain connected with the delivery of new life, i.e. pain related to birth (as the book’s title suggests).

The structure of the work is well selected and helps to improve clarity and understandability. The preface already contains a brief summary of everything the reader may expect to find in the book. The reader may then choose specific chapters based on their personal or immediate interest. Each chapter is introduced by an abstract, which again helps the readers to find their way through the text. In several chapters, the female authors (yes, all team members are women) cover the social and cultural context of perception of labour pain, and continue with the psychological aspects of labour pain and related coping strategies and fear connected with these aspects and with childbirth in general. A separate chapter is devoted to cesarean delivery on maternal request. Certain parts of the book tend to be more general, providing an opportunity to think in a wider context. This is the case of e.g. pain components. Briefly, yet clearly, the emotional, behavioral and cognitive components are covered, including possible tools and methods of their recording and measurement. Pain has always been a complex phenomenon that is determined by our experience, expectations and personal and social environment.

The authors present the conclusions of a number of international studies on the differences in experiencing pain, comparing cultural and ethnic differences, as well as education, age, expectations, etc., of women in labour. All the empirical research which is based on very specific data shows something of fundamental importance: rather than suppressing pain connected with new life, or down playing pain as something uncomfortable, unwanted, yet unfortunately inevitable, we need to allocate certain purpose or meaning to the experience of pain and the related manifestations and cognitive processes (ideas, fantasies, etc.). A meaning that is part of human life helps to endure pain or discomfort and prevents the experience of suffering. As a man who does not undergo the test of labour pain, I can afford a rather detached, philosophical view and a wish that the arrival of a human being to this world be connected with pain that is meaningful and intertwined with hope and dignity.

The publication in question is successful both for its content and for being published in English which makes it widely available. I recommend this publication for reading and further reflection to professionals of various specializations and to all those who do not consider childbirth and everything related to childbirth a mere routine medical procedure." - Prof. Ph Dr. Jiří Šípek, CSc., Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

"A slim book on the psychological context of labour pain (The Psychological Context of Labour Pain), edited by Jaroslava Raudenská and Alena Javůrková, and published by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. in New York in 2016, is a concise, yet information-rich overview of significant topics covering both science and medical practice or clinical psychology practice in the given area.

The book covers a wide range of topics, from pain prophylaxis to a deeply human, spiritual experience of childbirth; from self-help options to exclusively expert medical interventions; from a single expert to a multidisciplinary team; from the mother and child to the family context or wider social context; from anxiety and fear, psychologically conditioned, to the phenomenon of pure physiological pain and methods of coping with such pain.

A separate chapter is devoted to cesarean delivery (sectio caesarea): the related statistical data, the circumstances of personal or professional choice of cesarean delivery and the broader philosophical context and human and professionalaspects of the surgery.

The book attempts to open the imaginary door to interdisciplinary collaboration. Although a multidisciplinary approach in obstetrics as proved efficient, it is still not widely used. Thus, the book may benefitall those involved in antenatal preparation, childbirth and postnatal care. The book contains useful information for physicians (especially gynaecologists, neonatologists, anaesthesiologists and psychiatrists), physiotherapists, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists, nurses and social workers and may also bring inspiration to students of the above branches.

The editors are well aware that the size of each chapter did not allow for an exhaustive scientific paper on such key phenomena of human life as birth and pain; nevertheless (or, perhaps, therefore) the book may be used as a “springboard” for further study of the topics (the book itself providing an extensive list of sources) and as a practical guide to integration of various disciplines for the benefit of life. Life from its very beginning, life in its deepest human nature – through mother and child and their co-experience." - Pavel Humpolíček, Institute of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Brno Masaryk University, Czech Republic

The book is useful for all healthcare professionals participating in the preparation of women for labour and birth, the process of labour and birth itself, and postnatal care for the mother and child. The book may benefit gynaecologists, obstetricians, anaesthesiologists, paediatricians, neonatologists and psychiatrists as well as other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, midwives, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers and physiotherapists; however, it may also be of interest to students of the above branches. The book may serve as a useful guide for those participating in care and all those interested in the field. The book is intended to encourage not only professionals, but a wider public debate on coping with labour pain.

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