When Given Control, Women Use Less Epidural Anesthesia During Delivery

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or Medicare-funded private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

If women are given control of the amount of epidural anesthesia they get during labor and delivery, they use about 30 percent less medication than when given a standard dose from a doctor ...

"We looked at patient-controlled epidural anesthesia, and found the women were basically as comfortable as women on a continuous dose, and there was a 30 percent reduction in the amount of anesthesia used," ...

... The study found no differences in the time of labor, or the rate of Cesarean deliveries ... there was a trend toward fewer deliveries that required instrument assistance, such as forceps, in the patient-controlled group ...

Women in the patient-controlled group did report slightly higher pain scores when they got to the pushing part of the delivery, but also reported being satisfied with their pain relief overall ...

Great results, but not unexpected: this is not a new concept; patient-controlled analgesia is often used for post-operative pain management. Better still is if all women were supported with one-to-one midwifery care for pregnancy and labour, because this form of care carries no risks at all and results in very few epidurals being needed.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448