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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2003 Feb;80(2):117-22.

Ambulatory epidural anesthesia and the duration of labor.

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Département d'anesthésie et réanimation chirurgical, Hôpital Louise Michel, Quartier du Canal-Courcouronnes, Evry, France.



Ambulatory epidural analgesia has become a common option for women in labor in France. We tested the hypothesis that a method of epidural analgesia that allowed women to walk had specific advantages regarding mode of delivery, consumption of local anesthetic, oxytocin requirement, and labor duration.


Two hundred and twenty-one women with uncomplicated pregnancies who presented in spontaneous labor between 36 and 42 weeks of gestation or who were scheduled for induced labor were randomly divided into two groups, ambulatory and non-ambulatory. All were given intermittent epidural injections of 0.1% ropivacaine with 0.6 microg/ml sufentanil for analgesia during labor (P<0.05 was considered significant). None of the women had previous cesarean delivery.


There were no significant differences between the two groups in mode of delivery, consumption of local anesthetic, or oxytocin requirement. However, a significant difference was noted in labor duration (173.4+/-109.9 min vs. 236.4+/-130.6 min; P=0.001).


Walking with ambulatory labor analgesia shortens labor duration but has no other effect on the progress and outcome of labor.

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