Relation between Epidural Analgesia and severe perineal laceration in childbearing women in Catalonia

Garcia-Lausin, L, Perez-Botella, Mercedes orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3320-6446, Duran, X, Rodríguez-Pradera, S, Gutierrez-Martí, M J and Escuriet, R (2019) Relation between Epidural Analgesia and severe perineal laceration in childbearing women in Catalonia. Midwifery, 70 . pp. 76-83. ISSN 0266-6138

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Our objectives were to study the association between epidural analgesia and risk of severe perineal laceration (SPL), and identify additional risk factors for SPL. This multicentre study consisted of an analysis of data from the MidconBirth Phase I Database, on the use of EA and perineal results during childbirth. (World Health Organization, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, 2016: We conducted a prospective study of pregnant women at term between July 2016 and July 2017 in 30 public maternity hospitals in Catalonia, Spain. Inclusion criteria were an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy, in cephalic presentation and vaginal birth. Data was analysed separately for instrumental births and spontaneous vaginal births, as the former is more frequently associated with episiotomy and more perineal lacerations. Risk factors as well as protective factors in each cohort of women (instrumental and spontaneous vaginal birth), were identified. Multivariate logistic regression model was performed to study the association between epidural analgesia and SPL to identify potential confounders. Odds ratios (OR), using 95% confidence intervals (CI) were constructed. During the study period, 5497 eligible women gave birth, 77.46% of them received epidural analgesia. SPL occurred in 1.63% of births. The univariate analysis showed births with epidural analgesia had significantly higher rates of inductions, augmentation of labour, lithotomy position for birth and episiotomy. However, this association disappeared when the variable "type of vaginal birth" was introduced. In multivariate logistic regression, nulliparity was the major predictor for SPL (OR: 0.17; CI 95%: 0.08-0.34, p: 0.000). Epidural analgesia was not associated with SPL once confounding factors were included. Other interesting factors associated with SPL were identified. This paper identifies important practice areas which contribute to SPL and which have the potential to be rectified. It offers evidence on the role that EA plays on pelvic floor injuries and it adds to existing evidence about the disadvantages of using the lithotomy position for birth, especially in relation to SPL. It highlights the need for practice change in Catalonia from what can be considered a medical model of care to one more aligned with the midwifery philosophy of care through the development of clinical guidelines. It also signals the need to provide women with evidence base upon which to make informed choices on the use of EA, specifically in relation to SPL. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.]

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