Epidural during labor reduces severe complications by 35%

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 24 days ago

A recent study published in The BMJ revealed that getting an epidural during labor can lead to a lower risk of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) in the weeks following delivery. Severe maternal morbidity refers to unexpected adverse outcomes during labor and delivery that can result in short and long-term health issues.

Researchers analyzed data from the Scottish National Health Service involving over half a million mothers who gave birth naturally or through unplanned cesarean sections between 2007 and 2019. The study found that 22% of women had an epidural during labor, with a rate of 4.3 cases of severe maternal morbidity per 1,000 births. The results showed that getting an epidural was associated with a 35% reduced risk of severe complications.

Experts emphasize that epidurals not only provide pain relief during labor but also help relax muscles, lessen strain on the body, and reduce the risk of high-risk pregnancies. They stress the importance of educating and supporting all women in making informed decisions about pain management options during labor.

While the study highlights the benefits of epidurals for patients with severe maternal morbidity, it is essential to note that not everyone is a suitable candidate for the procedure. Patients with underlying bleeding disorders, for example, may not be eligible for an epidural.

Healthcare professionals recommend providing comprehensive education and discussing pain management options throughout prenatal care to cater to each patient's unique medical history and needs. Ultimately, patients should be given all the necessary information to make an educated decision about whether or not to have an epidural during labor. The goal is to ensure equitable access to epidural analgesia and promote safe and healthy decisions for all women.


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