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  1. DiTomasso, Diane PhD, RN


Scientific advances over the past 150 years have influenced pain management practices during childbirth. Cultural attitudes about pain in childbirth have also affected these practices. The objective of this work is to examine the history of pain management in childbirth in the United States and explore the relationship between cultural attitudes and care practices. A historic review was chosen as the research method. Included were records that described pain management practices and records that explored the relationship between care practices and American cultural attitudes about pain in childbirth. The health science reference databases of CINAHL (EBSCO host), PubMed and the Cochrane Library were searched for English language articles. There were no limitations in years searched. Twenty-five primary records and 42 secondary records met inclusion criteria and were used in this work. Scientific developments as well as ever-changing cultural attitudes have greatly impacted pain management practices for childbirth in America. A highly complex and parallel, relationship exists between science and culture in regards to this history. To promote positive birth experiences for women, it is essential that obstetrical practices are congruent with cultural views regarding appropriate pain management in childbirth.