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2020 Jun 04

J Obstet Gynaecol

Epidural analgesia during labour and stress markers in the newborn.


La Camera G, La Via L, Murabito P, Pitino S, Dezio V, Interlandi A, Minardi C, Astuto M
J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Jun 04:1-3.
PMID: 32496840.


Labour and modes of delivery can influence the plasma levels of stress hormones and cytokines involved in pathophysiologic cascade, potentially damaging brain development of the newborn. This prospective observational, single-centre, case-control, non-profit study aimed to detect potential differences in foetal well-being such as stress neuroendocrine responses. Quantitative determinations of the stress markers interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-8, and β-endorphin were compared between the control group and the epidural analgesia group. We found higher IL1-β levels but lower IL-8 and β-endorphin levels in the epidural analgesia group than in the control group. No significant inter-group differences were observed for any parameters. Our findings demonstrate that epidural analgesia for pain relief during labour does not result in significant differences in blood stress response markers.IMPACT STATEMENT We already know that plasma levels of stress hormones and cytokines are influenced by labour and delivery modes. This has a deep impact on the newborn in terms of brain damage, immune system deficits, and altered hypothalamic-pituitary axis responses. We also know that epidural analgesia is a widespread practice that offers pain relief to the woman in labour, but there are few studies on the potentially negative effects of epidural labour analgesia on the unborn child. This study found no significative differences in blood stress response markers between the epidural analgesia group and the control group. Under this study circumstances we found out that epidural analgesia does not significantly influence the newborn's well-being during labour and delivery. These findings must be confirmed by further studies to verify whether epidural analgesia is safe for the newborn's development.