Impact of epidural analgesia on the duration and outcomes of labour


Unė Krasauskaitė1,  Mantas Guzevičius1, Laura Malakauskienė2

1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania


Background & objectives: Epidural analgesia has the highest rate of satisfaction regarding labour pain relief. The aim of this study was to compare the progress and outcomes of low- risk deliveries with and without the use of epidural analgesia.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of low-risk deliveries were conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in the period of 2017–2018. The need for pain relief in low-risk deliveries, duration of labor, anhydrous period, and neonatal condition was evaluated and compared between two groups: delivery with and without epidural analgesia.

Results: There were 864 deliveries of low-risk during the study period, of which 13% received epidural analgesia. There were no significant differences in the mean age of women and duration of gestation in the groups. Women who gave birth with EA had a significantly longer duration of 1st and 2nd stage of labor and longer total duration of labor (11 hr 24 min vs. 5 hr 40 min; 1 hr 4 min vs. 31 min; 12 hr 37 min vs. 6 hr 12 min, respectively), p<0.05). The duration of anhydrous period was also significantly longer in the group with EA (7 hr 16 min vs. 2 hr 49 min, p<0.05). There were no significant differences in the distribution and frequency of delivery wound complications. Neonates born in both groups were in good condition and without any significant differences.

Conclusions: The incidence of epidural analgesia in low-risk deliveries was 13%. Epidural analgesia was associated with longer 1st and 2nd stage of labor, longer anhydrous period and total duration of labor. Anesthesia during labor did not affect the incidence of delivery wound complications and condition of neonates.

Keywords: epidural analgesia, labor pain, outcomes, neonate.