There exist very few studies comparing different postures or postural changes during labor in parturients with epidural analgesia.
Aim: To disclose whether the intervention of a multidisciplinary nursing team including a physiotherapist during the second stage of labor improves the obstetric outcome in parturients with epidural analgesia.
Design: Prospective randomized trial.
Setting: University-affiliated hospital.
Population: Women undergoing labor with epidural analgesia after a normal gestation.
Methods: 150 women were randomized either to actively perform predefined postural changes during the passive phase of the second stage of labor under the guidance of the attending physiotherapist (study group), or to carry out the whole second stage of labor lying in the traditional supine position (control group).
Results: There were significantly more eutocic deliveries (p = 0.005) and, conversely, significantly less instrumental deliveries (p < 0.05) and cesarean sections (p < 0.05) in the study group. The total duration of the second stage of labor was significantly shorter (p < 0.01) in the study group. This was at the expense of the passive phase of the second stage of labor (p < 0.01). Significantly less episiotomies were performed in the study group (31.2% vs 17.8%, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The intervention of a physiotherapist during the second stage of labor significantly improved the obstetric outcome.
Keywords: labor; postural changes; second stage.