Epidurals don't prolong childbirth, study finds

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For those who get an epidural to scale back labor ache, don’t fear about it prolonging the delivery course of or rising your danger of needing an intervention comparable to a C-section, a brand new study concludes.

Researchers in Boston randomly assigned 400 girls to obtain both an epidural anesthetic or a saline resolution in the course of the second stage of labor, which begins when the cervix is absolutely dilated – the half when it’s time to start out pushing. Neither the ladies nor the docs knew who was getting what.

Common supply instances in the course of the second stage for each teams had been virtually equivalent: 52 minutes for girls receiving epidurals, and 51 minutes for girls getting the saline resolution. That distinction is so slight it has no statistical significance, the researchers wrote within the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.


Likewise, each the epidural and saline resolution teams required related charges of interventions comparable to C-sections, forceps deliveries, and episiotomies (a surgical reduce to enlarge the vaginal opening). And infants in each teams fared equally nicely when it comes to delivery weight, blood-oxygen ranges and different fetal well being measurements. Their delivery place additionally didn’t seem like influenced by the epidural or saline options.

The one vital distinction, unsurprisingly, was ache reduction. Girls within the saline group reported extra ache as labor progressed than girls within the epidural group.

This study contrasts with some earlier analysis that has linked epidurals to extended labor and elevated danger for forceps supply and infants born within the “face up” place. It can seemingly require extra analysis to resolve this contradiction. Nevertheless, this study’s design as a randomized managed trial – the gold normal for medical analysis – lends the findings appreciable weight.

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