Effect of Epidural Pain Control on Labor Pain, Anxiety and Cervix Dilatation

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jeungim Kim, PhD
School of Nursing, Soon Chun Hyang University, Chonan, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the effects of epidural pain control on the labor process.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to know the importance of the objective pain measurement.

Purpose: Although delivery is a normal physiologic process, it causes a certain level of pain in women. Today, the most frequently used method to relieve is epidural anesthesia. However there was rarely reported any evidence that epidural anesthesia really made pain relieved and the cervix dilated more efficiently. This research was aimed to evaluate the efficiency of the epidural anesthesia on the labor pain and opening of the cervix at latent phase, active phase, and transition phase. Methods: We divided into two groups, experimental group selected the epidural anesthesia for pain relief and control groups selected the natural process. The research framework was as Fig 1. Anxiety level was measured by the Korean version of the Stait Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), delivery pain was done by VAS and objective pain measurement and the length of cervical dilatation was measured by two fingers and converted into cm. Objective pain was comprised of sweating, facial movement, physical position, and voice change. Results: Homogeneity of Pain and Anxiety at baseline, latent phase was confirmed. There were no significant differences in labor pain between both groups at latent phase, active phase and transitional phase. Then, there were significant differences in the level of the cervical opening at active phase and transient phase (F=4.17, p<.001; F=6.84, p<.001 respectively). Also when we compared the differences these variables within the experimental group, subjective pain, cervix dilatation, and anxiety level were all significantly changed after the epidural anesthesia. Lastly there were significant changes in objective pain at active phase and transient phase except for sweating at transient phase. Conclusion: From this evidence-based research, epidural anesthesia may be efficient to dilate the cervix in the labor process of stage I and expected to lessen the delivery time. It needs to examine the total time to delivery of the baby.