Labour pain is probably the worst pain a woman may experience in her lifetime and there are no restrictions with regards to the timing for epidural analgesia requests.
Some mothers may request for it early in labour, while others during the advanced stages of labour. Often, experienced mothers request for it at the onset of active labour while those who are hesitant or have never experienced labour epidural usually request for it later when the pain becomes unbearable.
There is strong evidence that intrathecal (spinal analgesia) or epidural analgesia administered during the early stage of labour does not affect the progress of labour, mode of birth or immediate baby condition compared with administration later in labour.
Large research studies have shown that epidural analgesia does not increase the risk of obstructed labour and therefore does not affect the mode of delivery (e.g. increased risk of Caesarean section or forceps-assisted delivery).
At MCMC, we believe that every mother deserves good labour analgesia and with the aim of providing a pain-free labour, epidural analgesia is encouraged for all expectant mothers.
For more information, kindly consult our Consultant Obstetrician and Anaesthetist.