The Relationship between Epidural Analgesia during Childbirth and Childbirth Outcomes
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Epidural analgesia has increased in usage dramatically in the United States as a means of comfort for labor pain. Prior studies have connected epidural analgesia to an increase in cesarean birth rate, an increase in use of instrumentation, an increase in length of labor, episiotomy rate, and maternal fever. Epidural analgesia has produced additional costs to the patient and society. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between epidural analgesia during childbirth and childbirth outcomes. The data for this study were obtained from a retrospective patient record review of 200 systematically selected labor patients who delivered in 2002 at a midwestern hospital. The epidural analgesia rate was 72% at this facility in 2002, a signiﬁcant increase from the previous 5 years. Using the Chi-square test of independence, 3 relationship was established between epidural analgesia and four of the variables examined. A statistically signiﬁcant relationship was found to exist between epidural analgesia and cesarean birth rate, pitocin augmentation, and the ﬁrst and second stages of labor with the total sample. The results of the study are important for healthcare providers who are relaying inﬂuential wellness information to childbearing women and their partners. The results indicate a need for further education for healthcare providers on alternative methods of pain relief for their patients during childbirth.
Master of Science