Labour pain: Construction of pain within the midwife profession

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPosterCommunication


Problem and background: The background for this thesis was an interest in the social characteristics of labour pain, in reference to how the Danish midwife profession views labour pain and how this view influence the care Danish midwives offer labouring women in pain. Through at systematic search for literature it was found that there was a lack of literature on this subject.

Research Question: How does the midwife education teach midwives to care for labouring women in pain on the grounds of a particular professional view on labour pain, and what implications does this have on the way that the midwifes care for labouring woman in pain?

Methods: An ethnographic field study through 7 years, and semi-structured interviews, were conducted on the basis of a combined hermeneutic and phenomenological approach. 6 midwives and midwifestudents were interviewed. The analysis was guided by an adapted theory approach that included the theoretical concepts of emotion work, negotiated social order, profession identity and professional care.

Findings: The particular professional view on labour pain was identified as the midwives viewing labour pain as a meaningful pain with a purpose. Midwife students were taught this through the theoretical – and practical educations through the mentorship system, were they learn to act in accordance with the labour wards feeling rules through surface acting and deep acting.
Midwives are reluctant to use pharmacological pain relief in labour. They utilize the use of negotiation to encourage the labouring woman in pain to handle the labour pain without pharmacological pain relief. If the midwife does not succeed in convincing the labouring woman that the labour pain is meaningful, then both midwife and labouring woman might feel powerless when dealing with the labour pain.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date8 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2018
EventNordic Sociological Association Conference 2018 - Aalborg Universitet, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 8 Aug 201810 Aug 2018


ConferenceNordic Sociological Association Conference 2018
LocationAalborg Universitet
Internet address


  • birth

Cite this