Maternal quality of life in routine labor epidural analgesia versus labor analgesia on request: results of a randomized trial

A. A. S. van den Bosch, M. Goossens, K. Bonouvrie, B. Winkens, J. G. Nijhuis, F. J. M. E. Roumen, M. M. L. H. Wassen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the changes in maternal quality of life (QOL) from pregnancy to 6 weeks after delivery between routine labor epidural analgesia (EA) and pain relief on maternal request only.

\Women delivering of a singleton in cephalic presentation beyond 36 + 0 weeks' gestation were randomly allocated to EA as a routine during labor (routine EA group), or to any kind of analgesia on request only (control group). The Short Form health survey (SF-36) was used to assess women's QOL before randomization, and 6 weeks postpartum. Data were analyzed according to the intention to treat principle.

A total of 488 women were included, and antepartum as well as postpartum SF-36 questionnaires were filled in by 356 (73.0%) women, 176 (49.4%) in the routine EA group, and 180 (50.6%) in the control group. Changes from the QOL antepartum to the QOL 6 weeks postpartum were comparable between both groups, also in the subgroup of women in the control group who gave birth without any pain medication (n = 41, 22.8%). Maternal age and the incidence of adverse events related to EA, which were both higher in the routine EA group, had no influence on the changes in QOL. Differences in request for pain relief were comparable with other studies.

Routine administration of EA during labor and pain relief on maternal request only are associated with comparable changes of women's QOL antepartum to 6 weeks postpartum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2027-2033
Number of pages7
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Analgesia
  • Childbirth
  • Epidural
  • Labor
  • Quality of life
  • Randomized trial
  • PAIN

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