Intravenous paracetamol versus intramuscular pethidine in relief of labour pain in primigravid women

Niger Med J. 2014 Jan;55(1):54-7. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.128167.


Background: Intramuscular pethidine is one of most common opioids used for labour analgesia. There are a number of concerns in the literature regarding the use of pethidine. The aim of this study is to compare analgesic efficacy of paracetamol with pethidine for labour pain in normal vaginal delivery.

Materials and methods: In this single-blinded, randomised control trial, 80 primigravid singleton women with full-term pregnancy candidate for normal vaginal delivery, were entered the trial and divided in to pethidine (A) and paracetamol (B) groups. At the time of admission, age and body mass index of mother and gestational age based on last day of period were recorded. In both groups, intravenous promethazine and hyoscine were administered to each patient at the first stage of delivery. From beginning of active phase of delivery, patients in group A received 50 mg intramuscular pethidine injection. At the same time patients in group B, received an intravenous solution infusion containing 1000 mg paracetamol and 300 cc of normal saline. After child birth, average labour pain was assessed using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) by direct questioning from patient in both groups.

Results: After patients' selection, 19 individual omitted during study due to exclusion criteria and finally 30 patients in paracetamol group and 31 patients in pethidine group remained to enter the trial. There was no significant difference in age and BMI of mothers between both groups (P > 0.05). Maternal age and labour duration in paracetamol group had no meaningful difference with maternal age and labour duration of patients in pethidine group (P > 0.05). The average VAS pain score was significantly lower in paracetamol comparing to that of pethidine group (8.366 out of 10, 9.612 out of 10, respectively, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: It is concluded that intravenous paracetamol is more effective than intramuscular pethidine to relief labour pain in normal vaginal delivery.

Keywords: Labour pain; intramuscular pethidine; intravenous paracetamol; vaginal delivery.