If you've ever requested an epidural in childbirth, you know that you want that pain relief just as soon as you ask for it. And new research suggests that, indeed, the very moment you ask is exactly the appropriate time to get it.
A review published in the Cochrane Library looked at the effects of epidurals given early in labor versus late, and found they were very comparable.
Researchers reviewed data from nine studies, for a total of close to 16,000 first-time mothers, who were randomly selected to receive their epidurals early or late in labor. The data showed that the administration of earlier epidurals had no impact on the chances of deliveries requiring the use of forceps or suction, or to the amount of time moms spent pushing.
Some previous studies have suggested that the timing of an epidural can play a role in prolonging labor, as well as up the chances the mom-to-be could end up with a c-section delivery.
On the contrary, the study's head researcher Dr. Ban Leong Sng wrote, "The right time to give the epidural is when the woman requests pain relief. If they request an epidural early during their labor, the evidence we have does not provide a compelling reason why this should be refused."
Did you opt for an epidural, and did it affect your delivery outcome?
Pregnant? Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to give you the inside scoop, every step of the way.
Labor & Delivery: Epidurals
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock