Epidurals given during labor can affect the way the final fetal head position is going to be.
Epidural analgesia is widely used by doctors for labor and delivery. This is a form of painkiller that is injected into the space between the vertebrae. This relaxes the pelvic muscles and nerves get the anesthetic medication. The lady in labor will still feel the contractions but will no longer be in pain.
A study was conducted on 1562 women to determine the effect of epidural analgesic on labor and fetal positions during labor using ultrasound examinations. Initial ultrasound examinations were done when the ladies was admitted for labor, and later at regular points in the delivery, such as when epidural were administered, 4 hours after admission if no epidurals are given, and in late labor when the dilation is more than 8cms.
Most fetuses were seen to have their head in occiput anterior at delivery. Of the fetuses, which were in occiput posterior late in labor, only 20% of them remained so at delivery. Women who had epidural showed to have more occiput posterior fetuses at delivery.
Scientists of the study feel that the final fetal head position, which is established close to delivery, can be abnormal in women having an epidural because of the anesthesia. This explains why most women who have an epidural injection failed to have a vaginal birth.