Epidural control cuts forceps deliveries

Women given control over their epidurals during labour have lower rates of medical interventions, BBC News reports. 

The US study in 270 women found that those who had been offered patient-controlled epidural analgesia used 30% less anaesthetic and had lower forceps delivery rates compared with women who received a steady infusion of epidural analgesia.

In women who self-administered pain relief, each press of the button delivered a dose and didn’t permit further presses for a set duration of time. 

The results, presented at the Society for Fetal Maternal Medicine annual meeting in San Francisco in the US, found patient satisfaction was similar between the two groups. However, women self-administering anaesthetic reported more pain during the final stage of labour.