Epidural anesthesia safe at any stage of birth, Hadassah researchers say

Groundbreaking research from the Hadassah Medical Center that tested around 19,000 women over a period of a decade at different stages of birth, had some surprising results.

Baby crying [Illustrative] (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Baby crying [Illustrative]
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Researchers at the Hadassah Medical Center released the results of a decade-long study that indicates that epidural can be safely administered at any stage of birth, according to a press release.
The groundbreaking study involved around 18,870 women who gave birth between the years 2003-2015 and the epidural was administered during different stages of birth.
"The average length of labor and delivery is not at all affected by the administration of anesthesia," the researchers concluded.
The research shatters one of the most common myths surrounding labor, regarding the administration of epidural anesthesia and the belief that it may affect the length of birth depending on when it is administrated. Every delivery room operates slightly differently, but it is not uncommon for women asking for epidural to be told that it's too early and that they should wait or alternatively, that their cervix is too dilated and that it's too late for anesthesia.
The researchers found that the length of birth did not significantly change between women who chose to receive epidural anesthesia during the first stages of labor and those who received it mid-birth or towards its end.
Director of the Maternity Department at Hadassah Medical Center told Israel Hayom that "there's no need for women to suffer."
Complications, such as cases that required the use of vacuum devices, were taken into consideration when interpreting the results. However, it was noticed that the total length of birth was slightly longer on average when epidural was administered. In cases of first births, labor contractions were one hour longer on average for patients who received epidural as opposed to patients who did not. In second or thirds births, contractions lasted 45 minutes longer on average.