In regard to obstetrical analgesia management there are different results related to the use of epidural analgesia versus mechanical adverse outcomes at delivery.
Cohort study of 23,183 consecutive, term, singleton vaginal deliveries, including spontaneous and induced labours, at a single institution from January 2004 to June 2016 to determine the association between epidural analgesia and different mechanical complications affecting maternal health such as severe perineal tears (SPT), abnormal foetal head position at delivery, instrumental delivery and caesarean section (CS).
Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate the risk factors of these mechanical complications with respect to possible cofounders.
Epidural analgesia was used in 15,821 (68.24%) women. The logistic regression model showed a non-significant association between the use of epidural analgesia and SPT (odds ratio [OR], 078; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48–1.26; p = 0.310). Instrumental delivery and CSs were more frequently performed in cases than controls (p = < 0.001), with OR of 1.19 (95% CI: 1.10–1.29) for CS and with OR of 3.27 (95% CI: 2.93–4.61) for instrumental delivery. The abnormal foetal position head at delivery were significantly lower in the neonates delivered without epidural analgesia compared with those in which epidural analgesia was used (p < 0.001) with OR of 1.43 (95% CI:1.27–1.72).
Epidural analgesia is not associated with an increase of SPT, but it was an independent risk factor for instrumental delivery, CS and abnormal foetal head position at delivery.