Rebuilding the labor curve during neuraxial analgesia

J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2011 Nov;37(11):1532-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2011.01568.x. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Aim: The aim of this study was to examine the pattern of labor progression among nulliparous women under neuraxial analgesia to obtain a new, specific reference labor curve and to compare the different effects of epidural and combined spinal epidural (CSE) analgesia on the progression of labor.

Material and methods: This perspective cohort study was carried out in the Obstetrics and Gynecology tertiary care unit. Six hundred nulliparous parturients were enrolled. A total of 545 nulliparous women were assigned to receive either epidural (272) or CSE (273) analgesia during labor.

Results: The mean duration of the first stage was 4 h and 30 min (SD 1.52 h) and the mean duration of the second stage was 1 h and 10 min (SD 0.43). In the second stage, the CSE analgesia labors showed an overall faster progression compared to the epidural labors but both lasted longer than the duration reported by Zhang (53 min) and Friedman (39 min). Both the first and the second-stage duration were significantly lower if neuraxial analgesia was performed as a CSE procedure with respect to the simple epidural procedure (first stage 4 h and 1 min vs. 4 h and 60 min, P = 0.043; second stage 1 h and 5 min vs 1 h and 15 min, P = 0.0356).

Conclusions: The pattern of labor progression in contemporary obstetrics differs significantly from the Friedman curve. Based on these observations, we can obtain a more comprehensive knowledge of the partogram's modifications due to the analgesia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia, Epidural / methods
  • Analgesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Pain / drug therapy*
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies


  • Analgesics