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Obstetric Anesthesia
Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2009;4(2):166-169.
Published online April 30, 2009.
The effects of epidural labor analgesia on the progress of labor: a retrospective study
Junghee Ryu, Chong Soo Kim, Yun Mi So, Jung Won Hwang, Sang Hwan Do
1Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Korea.
2Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Boramea Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Epidural analgesia provides effective pain control during labor. However, its influence on the course of delivery is controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of epidural analgesia on the course of delivery and the perinatal outcome and to examine the changes of the cesarean delivery rates that are associated with epidural analgesia.
Among 1,200 parturients who delivered in our hospital from 2003 to 2005, we obtained the demographic and obstetric data for 240 primiparous deliveries (120 women in the epidural group [group E] and 120 women in the nonepidural group [group N]). The duration of the active phase and the second and third stages of labor, the perinatal outcome and the incidence of emergency cesarean delivery were analyzed.
The duration of the second stage of labor was longer in group E (41 +/-23 min in group N vs. 49 +/-28 min in group E, P = 0.02). The incidences of cesarean delivery were similar between the two groups [15 (12.5%) in group N vs. 18 (15%) in group E, P = 0.6]. The incidences of fetal distress during the active phase of labor did not differ in both groups (48% vs. 41%, respectively, P = 0.4). The neonatal outcomes, including the birth weight, fetal heart rate deceleration or bradycardia during labor and the Apgar score, were similar between the two groups.
We conclude that epidural labor analgesia does not seem to be associated with an increased incidence of cesarean delivery. In addition, epidural labor analgesia seems to have no adverse effect on the perinatal outcomes of primiparous women.
Key Words: cesarean delivery, epidural analgesia, labor analgesia, perinatal outcome

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