Comparison of labour and birth outcomes between nulliparous women who used epidural analgesia in labour and those who did not: A prospective cohort study

Elizabeth C Newnham, Patrick S Moran, Cecily M Begley, Margaret Carroll, Deirdre Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To compare labour and birth outcomes between nulliparous women who used versus did not use intrapartum epidural analgesia. 

Design: Prospective cohort study. 

Setting: Two maternity hospitals in Ireland. 

Population: A total of 1221 nulliparous women who gave birth vaginally or by emergency caesarean section. 

Methods: Multinomial logistic regression was used to analyse categorical outcomes, with results presented as ratios of relative risks (RRR). For dichotomous outcomes we used logistic regression, with results presented as odds ratios (OR). 

Main outcome measures: Mode of birth, IV syntocinon use, pyrexia (≥38 °C), antibiotic treatment, first stage labour ≥10 h, second stage labour ≥2 h, blood loss (≥500 mls, ≥1000 mls), perineal trauma. Neonatal outcomes included Apgar score ≥7 at 1 min and 5 min, admission to neonatal intensive care unit, and infant feeding method. 

Results: Women using EA were more likely to require a vacuum-assisted birth (RRR 3.35, p < 0.01) or forceps-assisted birth (RRR 11.69, p < 0.01). Exposure to EA was associated with significantly greater risk of ≥10 h first (OR 6.72, p = 0.01) and ≥2 h second (OR 2.25, p < 0.01) stage labour, increased likelihood of receiving IV syntocinon (OR 9.38, p < 0.01), antibiotics (OR 2.97, p < 0.01) and a greater probability of pyrexia (OR 10.26, p < 0.01). Women who used EA were half as likely to be breastfeeding at three months postpartum (OR 0.53, p < 0.01). No differences were observed between groups in neonatal outcomes. 

Conclusions: Our data shows significant associations between EA use and several intrapartum outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e435-e441
Number of pages7
JournalWomen and Birth
Volume34
Issue number5
Early online date11 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Analgesia
  • Breast feeding
  • Childbirth
  • Cohort studies
  • Epidural
  • Pain management

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