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Epidural Anesthesia Doesn’t Actually Slow Down Labor, Researchers Say • Mirror Daily

Epidural anesthesia doesn’t influence the labor or delivery

(Mirror Daily, United States) – It happens quite often that gynecologists refuse to administer epidural anesthesia to women as their delivery gets close to its end. Usually, they avoid doing this as they think labor will last longer. However, a recent study delved deeper into this problem, and revealed this type of anesthesia doesn’t actually have this effect.

The Chinese researchers started a randomized trial to test the effects of epidural anesthesia during labor. Therefore, they took 400 women in the middle of their delivery, and administered them either the classical anesthetic or a control solution of saline. The patients weren’t aware if they received the anesthetic or not, and neither did the gynecologists who supervised the delivery.

Then, researchers measured the timespan between the moment when the cervix fully dilated and the moment of birth. It took 51 minutes to give birth for the women who had received the control solution, while the other group recorded 52 minutes. Therefore, the difference between the two groups is insignificant.

Epidural anesthesia didn’t affect the delivery in any way

Also, any other differences were again insignificant. The researchers had administered either the control substance or the anesthetic to the same number of women who underwent a C-section, an episiotomy, or a forceps delivery. Also, the number of doctors who decided to stop administering the substance was similar, namely 17 in the control group and 21 in the anesthetic group. They all took this decision to speed up labor.

However, there was one difference between the group, which seems quite understandable. Those who underwent epidural anesthesia dealt better with their pain. Since there was no actual anesthetic in the control substance, the other group had it a little tougher.

Therefore, epidural anesthesia doesn’t affect a delivery in any way. It doesn’t slow down the labor, and no woman should worry such an anesthesia would prevent her from delivering her baby vaginally. The only effect the anesthetic has is to ease the pain and make it more manageable.

This study has been published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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