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My thoughts on a recent article about Epidurals & Labor

December 11, 2017

There has been a post circulating around Facebook with the title “Epidurals don’t prolong childbirth, study shows”, and the very first sentence goes on telling the reader not to worry about an epidural prolonging your labor or increasing your chance of cesarean’s. The article relates to a controlled study of 400 women, some of which were given an epidural in the second stage of labor, and some were given saline solution. The doctors, nor the mom’s knew what would be given to whom. The article goes on to say that the study proved there were no significant differences between length of labor, or number of births that ended in cesarean. Near the end of the article it states that the only real difference between the two groups was the pain relief; the group with saline experienced SLIGHTLY  more pain WITH TIME. Sounds pretty good right? Any pregnant mom reading this article is going to think “great, less pain, and no worse chances for longer labor or intervention”, and why wouldn’t you? This article wants the reader to feel this way, but it couldn’t be more misleading. The article has come up in every mom group I belong to and I feel something needs to be said about it.

First major thing I see here, is that they do not clarify the fact that these moms were given either the epidural in the SECOND STAGE. What this means, is that all 400 moms had already become fully dilated, and were just about ready to push. This is a HUGE variable to not make clear. If you have already went through the notions of labor, and are just about at pushing phase, of course it won’t prolong your labor, you’re already 80% done! Second major variable that was not spoken abo