Epidural anesthesia is a well-established procedure in obstetrics for pain relief in labor and has been well researched as it comes to cephalic presentation. However, in vaginal intended breech delivery less research has addressed the influence of epidural anesthesia. The Greentop guideline on breech delivery states that there’s little evidence and recommends further evaluation.
The aim of this study was to compare maternal and neonatal outcomes in vaginally intended breech deliveries at term with and without an epidural anesthesia.
This study was a retrospective cohort study.
This study included 2122 women at term with a singleton breech pregnancy from 37 + 0 weeks of pregnancy on and a birth weight of at least 2500 g at the obstetric department of University hospital Frankfurt from January 2007 to December 2018.
Neonatal and maternal outcome was analyzed and compared between women receiving “walking” epidural anesthesia and women without an epidural anesthesia.
Fetal morbidity, measured with a modified PREMODA score, showed no significant difference between deliveries with (2.96%) or without (1.79%; p = 0.168) an epidural anesthesia. Cesarean delivery rates were significantly higher in deliveries with an epidural (35 vs. 26.2%, p = 0.0003), but after exclusion of multiparous women, cesarean delivery rates were not significantly different (40.2% cesarean deliveries with an epidural vs. 41.5%, p = 0.717). As compared to no epidurals, epidural anesthesia in vaginal delivery was associated with a significantly higher rate of manual assistance (33.8 versus 52.1%) and a longer duration of birth (223.7 ± 194 versus 516.2 ± 310 min) (both p < 0.0001)".
Epidural anesthesia can be offered as a safe option for pain relief without increasing neonatal or maternal morbidity and mortality. Nevertheless, it is associated with a longer birth duration and manually assisted delivery.