Neuraxial analgesia such as epidural, spinal or combined spinal-epidural blockade were used by 73 percent, with the lowest frequency in Maine and the highest in Nevada, finds a new study.
Pain relief for pregnant women in labor is commonly given in the form of an epidural, spinal or combined spinal-epidural blockade, which is collectively referred to as neuraxial analgesia.
This study used birth certificate data and found wide variation in neuraxial analgesia use across the United States.
‘Wide variation in the use of pain relievers during labor has been reported in the US’
Among 2.6 million pregnant women who underwent labor in 2015, neuraxial analgesia was used by 73 percent, with the lowest frequency in Maine and the highest in Nevada.
Variation between states was only partly explained by state-level factors, which suggests other unmeasured patient-level and hospital-level factors likely were at play.
It's important to understand the main reasons behind the variation and to know whether it influences health outcomes for women and newborns.