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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb 16




Sterile water injections for relief of labour pain (the SATURN trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.


Lee N, Gao Y, Mårtensson LB, Callaway L, Barnett B, Kildea S
Trials. 2022 Feb 16; 23(1):155.
PMID: 35172876.


Up to 80% of women use some form of pharmacological analgesia during labour and birth. The side effects of pharmacological agents are often incompatible with the concurrent use of non-pharmacological pain-relieving strategies, such as water immersion, ambulation and upright positioning, or may have negative effects on both the mother and foetus. Sterile water injections given into the skin of the lumbar region have been demonstrated to reduce back pain during labour. However, the injections given for back pain have no effect on abdominal contraction pain. The analgesic efficacy of sterile water injections for abdominal pain during childbirth is unknown. The injections cause an immediate, brief but significant pain that deters some women from using the procedure. This study aims to investigate the use of water injections given intradermally into the abdomen to relieve labour contraction pain. A vapocoolant spray will be applied to the skin immediately prior to the injections to reduce the injection pain.