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Epidural given in early labor may not lead to caesarian birth

In a research conducted by Northwestern University about the effects of epidural pain relief on caesarian delivery, it was noted// that epidural analgesic given at the early stages of labor does not increase the incidence of caesarian delivery.

728 pregnant ladies in their final term were observed for the study. All were delivering for the first time. When asked for painkillers, women who were given epidural in the early stages of labor tended to be in labor for less time and have dilation of cervix earlier than other forms of painkiller. Even the average time taken for the delivery was also less than the other. The one-minute Apgar scores for the newborns also were significantly higher than babies born otherwise.

The study concluded that there was no significant effect of epidural analgesic on the rate of caesarian birth. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is recommended that whenever possible the obstetricians must postpone the use of spinal epidural until late in labor for the women giving birth for the first time. Patients in such cases may be given muscular or other forms of painkillers. This recommendation was based on the studies that often early epidural had lead to higher incidence of caesarian delivery.

The recent study goes to show that such may not always be the case

Links:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N16171886.htm
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/352/7/655
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