Pain in childbirth and suffering: perspectives of Brazilian women [Dor no parto e sofrimento: perspectivas de mulheres brasileiras]

Ovtavio Muniz da Costa Vargens, Priscila de Oliveira Macedo, Alexandra Celento Vasconcellos da Silva, Jane Márcia Progianti


Objective: to discuss suffering as a meaning assigned to pain by women who experienced vaginal delivery in hospital. Methodology: Descriptive and qualitative study carried out in a public maternity ward in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The informants were ten mothers admitted to hospital who had just experienced vaginal delivery. Data were obtained by semi-structured interviews. Ethics Research Board approved this study. Findings: It was identified three dimensions of suffering related to pain in childbirth, "redemptive suffering", where childbirth pains are deemed to be a means of cleansing Eve’s sin; "heroic suffering", when woman signifies this suffering as a heroic act which makes her feel stronger, with enough power for overcoming pain; and "useless suffering", influenced by technocratic model and which removed any vestiges of cultural or social meaning from the pain in childbirth. Conclusion: To experience pain in childbirth is real and makes women aware of the arrival of their children. This pain is bearable and does not cause any permanent injury to women. Therefore, it does not need to be treated. Nurse midwives, being together with women, could help them to rescue the senses of pain in childbirth and experience it without suffering and without medical interventions.

RESUMO - Objetivo: discutir o sofrimento como um significado atribuído à dor por mulheres que tiveram parto vaginal em hospital. Metodologia: estudo descritivo e qualitativo realizado em uma maternidade pública no Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Os informantes foram dez mulheres internadas em hospital, que tiveram parto vaginal. Os dados foram obtidos por meio de entrevistas semi-estruturadas. Este estudo foi aprovado por Comitê de Ética em Pesquisa. Resultados: foram identificadas três dimensões do sofrimento relacionado à dor durante o parto, "sofrimento redentor", onde as dores de parto são consideradas um meio de purificação do pecado de Eva; "Sofrimento heróico", quando a mulher significa esse sofrimento como um ato heróico que a faz se sentir mais forte, com poder suficiente para superar a dor; e "sofrimento inútil", influenciado pelo modelo tecnocrático e que removeu todos os vestígios de significado cultural ou social da dor no parto. Conclusão: experimentar a dor no parto é real e faz com que as mulheres estejam conscientes da chegada de seus filhos. Essa dor é suportável e não causa nenhum dano permanente para as mulheres. Por conseguinte, não necessita de ser tratada. A enfermeira obstétrica, estando junto com as mulheres, poderia ajudá-las a resgatar os sentidos da dor no parto e experimentá-la sem sofrimento e sem intervenções médicas.


Labor pain; childbirth; pain relief; natural childbirth; nurse midwifery

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