BACKGROUND: Epidural analgesia is the optimal means in controlling labor pain, whereas the correlation between epidural analgesia at different cervix dilation and corresponding risk of operative delivery remains unclear.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the epidural analgesia at different cervix and the rate of Cesarean in nulliparous women.
METHODS: This is a perspective controlled trial conducted in a University affiliated tertiary women’s health care hospital. After approval by the Institutional Ethical Committee, 780 nulliparous women who underwent spontaneous vaginal delivery at term requesting labor analgesia were screened and 596 of them were assigned into interventions. Subjects were allocated into one of four groups received epidural analgesia initiated at different cervical dilation, i.e. from the onset of painful uterine contraction to the cervix 50.0 mm or greater. The primary outcome was the rate of Cesarean delivery. Others included maternal and neonatal outcomes due to epidural analgesia and drug delivery.
RESULTS: Five hundred and thirty three subjects completed the study. Significant difference in the rate of Cesarean delivery was observed amongst the four groups (98.9% at cervix <= 10.0mm, 30.2% at cervix 11.0 – 30.0mm, 24.2% at cervix 31.0 – 50.0mm and 18.1% at cervix >= 51.0mm, P < 0.0001). The major reason led to high Cesarean rate at cervix <= 10.0 mm was poor labor progression (75.2%). No significant differences were expressed in variables of non-reassuring fetal status.
CONCLUSIONS: Epidural analgesia should be avoided in controlling labor pain at the cervix below 10.0mm due to its influence on the progress of labor resulting in high rate of Cesarean. Maternal characteristics are additional aspects need to be concerned during epidural labor control in nulliparous women.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Epidural Analgesia in Different Cervix Diameter and the Rate of Cesarean Delivery (EACDRCD). ClinicalTrials.gov ID, NCT00677274. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00677274.
Epidural Analgesia, Labor Pain, Cesarean, Cervix
This work was supported in part by the grants of National Natural Scientific Foundation of China (NSFC, 81271242 and 81371248), Nanjing Municipal Outstanding Young Scientist Grant, China (JQX12009) and Nanjing Municipal Youth Grants of Medical Science (QYK11139).
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