Perceptions of paternal involvement and labour pain management in Chinese couples during childbirth: A qualitative study

Fei Wan Ngai, Xiao Xiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Labour pain is an individual experience embedded in a socio-cultural context. In childbirth, the father's involvement provides important support to the mother during labour. However, few published studies have evaluated couples’ experiences of paternal involvement and labour pain management in the Chinese context. Aim: This study aimed to understand the experience of labour pain management and the father's involvement in childbirth from the perspectives of women and their partners in Hong Kong. Methods: An exploratory qualitative design was adopted. A purposive sample of 45 Chinese parents was recruited at the postnatal unit of a regional hospital. Data were collected through semi-structured face-to-face interviews within 1 month after birth. The data were subjected to content analysis. Findings: The findings revealed six major themes: the mothers’ experience of labour pain, effectiveness of pain relief measures, mothers’ perceptions of support from their partners, mothers’ perceptions of support from healthcare professionals, fathers’ experience of involvement in childbirth and suggested improvements to maternity services. Discussion: Chinese mothers experienced intense labour pain and used various pain relief measures. Both parents considered the involvement of fathers and support from healthcare professionals to be highly significant during childbirth. Conclusions: This study highlights the need for a family-centred model of care during childbirth that involves both parents in the decision-making process. Chinese maternity services should implement individualised birth plans that acknowledge both parents’ expectations and preferences, thus promoting a positive childbirth experience for the parents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen and Birth
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • Childbirth
  • Father's involvement
  • Labour pain management
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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