Labor Epidural may Prolong Labor by 2 Hours or More

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An upcoming retrospective study in Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that labor epidural analgesia may prolong the second stage of labor much more than previously reported. This is at odds with a landmark 2005 prospective study in the New England journal of Medicine (Wong CA et al. The risk of cesarean delivery with neuraxial analgesia given early versus late in labor. N Engl J Med 2005;352:655–65.) but that study involved only spinal analgesia for labor, not epidurals. If epidural analgesia really does significantly prolong labor, it may change obstetrical thinking. We will watch for the full text of this study to become available and evaluate it for inclusion in an upcoming issue of Anesthesia Abstracts.