Effects of epidural and systemic maternal analgesia in term infants: the NoPiL study

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2010 Jun 1;2:1514-9. doi: 10.2741/e210.


The aim of the No Pain in Labour (NoPiL) study was to evaluate the stress and clinical outcome of infants vaginally born without maternal analgesia and after maternal epidural or systemic analgesia. We studied 120 healthy term infants, 41 in the no analgesia group, 38 in the epidural analgesia group, and 41 in the systemic analgesia group. Cortisol, beta-endorphin, oxidative stress markers (ie: total hydroperoxide (TH) and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP)), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) cytokines were measured in arterial cord blood samples. Infants in the 3 groups had similar Apgar score, cord blood pH and occurrence of hypoglycaemia, hyperbilirubinemia, and respiratory depression. Cortisol and endorphin plasma levels did not differ in the groups, nor did TH and AOPP values. IL-1beta and IL-8 cytokine were higher in infants born after maternal epidural analgesia than in other groups. Short-term outcome and stress were similar in infants vaginally born without maternal analgesia and after epidural and systemic analgesia. The possible implications of the highest interleukin levels in the epidural analgesia group deserve further study.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Epidural*
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • beta-Endorphin / blood


  • Analgesics
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-8
  • beta-Endorphin
  • Hydrocortisone