The Relationship Between Method of Pain Management During Labor and Birth Outcomes

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This study examined the relationship between method of pain management during labor and birth outcomes. A retrospective comparative chart review of 233 primiparous deliveries was conducted and group assignment was based on method of pain control (nonnarcotic, narcotic, or epidural). Epidural analgesia or anesthesia was associated with increased rates of instrumental and cesarean delivery. Augmentation of labor using a synthetic oxytocin was reported in more charts than expected, and the length of the second stage of labor was longer in those who received epidural analgesia or anesthesia. Apgar scores for those who received early epidural analgesia or anesthesia were lower than for those who received late or no epidural analgesia or anesthesia, although Apgar scores were satisfactory across all groups. Between-groups differences were unrelated to time of epidural placement or maternal temperature. Findings are relevant for maternal child nurses who serve as a resource for families wishing to make informed decisions about pain management in labor.

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