Harvard researchers bust epidural myth

They say thinking on labour impact is ‘out of date and misguided’

Epidurals do not slow down labour, according to Harvard researchers, who suggest the long-held practice of reducing or stopping an epidural in the later stages is "out of date and misguided”.


Their study of 400 nulliparous women has found that a low concentration of the drug in the second stage has no effect on progress.

In the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, all received epidural analgesia for the first stage of labor, using 0.08% ropivacaine with 0.4µg/mL sufentanil with patient-controlled epidural analgesia.