Although persistent pain has been described to occur after various types of surgery,
little is known about this entity following caesarean section or vaginal birth. We
sought to examine the association between mode of delivery and development of persistent
pain, as well as the nature and intensity of the pain.
A questionnaire was sent to 600 consecutive Finnish-speaking women within one year
of their giving birth. The survey recorded the women's health history, obstetric history,
previous pain, details of the caesarean section or vaginal birth, and a description
of their pain, if present.
Persistent pain one year after delivery was significantly more common after caesarean
section (42/229, 18%) than after vaginal birth (20/209, 10%: P=0.011, OR 2.1 with
95% CI 1.2-3.7). The persistent pain was mild in 55% of the patients in both groups,
and intense or unbearable for four caesarean sections and six vaginal births. Persistent
pain was significantly more common in women with previous pain (P=0.013), previous
back pain (P=0.016), and any chronic disease (P=0.016). The women with persistent
pain recalled significantly more pain on the day after caesarean section (P=0.004)
and vaginal birth (P=0.001) than those who did not report persistent pain.
Persistent pain is more common one year after a caesarean section than after vaginal
birth. A history of previous pain and pain on the day after delivery correlated with
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