The effects of maternal epidural anesthesia on neonatal behavior during the first month

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1992 Dec;34(12):1072-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1992.tb11419.x.


The effects of maternal epidural anesthesia with bupivacaine on the infant's performance on the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) over the first month of life were examined. 20 non-medicated infants were matched for biomedical and demographic variables with 20 infants delivered with bupivacaine epidural anesthesia. The NBAS was administered on days 1, 3, 7 and 28. The epidural group showed poorer performance on the orientation and motor clusters during the first month of life. Epidural mothers reported spending less time with their infants while in the hospital; post hoc analyses showed that they had longer labor, more forceps deliveries and a greater amount of oxytocin. Controlling for the effects of these medical variables, a dose effect was found for the mean orientation and motor cluster scores. The results are discussed in terms of possible effects of the infant's early disorganization on the mother-infant interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Epidural*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical*
  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Bupivacaine* / adverse effects
  • Bupivacaine* / pharmacokinetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Neurologic Examination / drug effects*
  • Obstetrical Forceps


  • Bupivacaine