anesthesia, as an effective pain relief method, could be viewed as an attempt
to encourage vaginal delivery and control cesarean section. Increased demand
caused by psychosocial factors such as fear of childbirth and labor pain is
supposed to be one predictable drive of high cesarean section rate in present
China. Little qualitative information on women’s awareness and perceptions of epidural
anesthesia was found, but conscious efforts should be focused on this part to
help generate policy-making priority. Methods: This study was carried out under
an exploratory descriptive design in Bao’an Maternity and Child Health Hospital.
Those interested in participating would be invited to focus group discussion or
individual interview according to a semi-structured open-ended guide after collecting
the participants’ demographic characteristics. The thematic content analysis
approach was used for data analysis. Results: Five major themes were identified:
1. the sources to gain information on epidural anesthesia; 2. clinical impact;
3. social impact on awareness; 4. association between epidural anesthesia and
cesarean section; 5. attitudes and questions about the current service implementation. Discussions: The interplay between pregnancy knowledge, socio-economic
conditions, social support, insurance policy environment, women’s judgment of
health care quality influences the ways women acknowledge and utilize epidural
anesthesia service. Conclusions: As maternal requested CS due to low pain tolerance
emerges gradually, natural labor with epidural anesthesia is a more suitable childbirth
option, which is also expected to function in reducing CS rate by service-providers
and administrators in the health departments
of China besides building up a pain-free labor environment.
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