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  Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Epidurals injected early into the spines of pregnant women don't increase the risk of Cesarean birth
A good news for mother-to-be: epidurals injected early into the spines of pregnant women don't increase the risk of Cesarean birth.¦@ Epidural analgesia is a common choice in many countries, but it is often withheld until the woman's cervix has widened to four centimeters on the belief that women who get a pain-killing shot earlier face a higher risk of Caesarean section. A new study published in this week's New England Journal of Medicine, however, finds that is not the case and that there may be some benefits to giving the spinal injection early in the delivery. The researchers confirmed what they had suspected -- early epidurals didn't increase the rate of Cesarean births. In fact, the early epidural group had an 18 percent C-section rate, while the opioid group had a 21 percent rate, reports Xinhuanet. According to the New York Times, a new study of the treatment - a type of anesthesia that injects painkiller into the spinal fluid and the epidural area around the spinal cord to numb the pelvic region - finds that giving it early or late in labor makes no difference in Caesarean rates among women having first babies. There is no reason for women to deny themselves the medicine or for doctors to withhold it, the study says. Other researchers urged caution, noting that not all hospitals offer such combined anesthesia and that the findings might not apply to all epidural treatments. About 60 percent of American women have epidural anesthesia during childbirth. Dr. Cynthia A. Wong, the lead author of the new study and an obstetric anesthesiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said women were often pressured to delay the treatment and made to feel guilty or weak if they asked for one too soon
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