Does the station of the fetal head during epidural analgesia affect labor and delivery? Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To assess whether the station of the fetal head when lumbar epidural analgesia is administered influences the duration or the mode of delivery in low-risk laboring women. Methods: We prospectively evaluated 131 consecutive cases of low-risk parturients at term who requested intrapartum epidural analgesia. Obstetric outcome of 65 parturients who underwent epidural analgesia when the fetal head was low in the birth canal was compared to 66 patients whose fetal head station was above the ischial spine. Results: Both groups were similar in their obstetric characteristics. Cervical dilatation when performing the epidural analgesia was similar in both groups. The duration of labor and mode of delivery, as well as percentage of malpositions, were not significantly different in the two groups. Conclusions: The station of the fetal head while initiating epidural analgesia does not influence the duration of labor or the mode of delivery. Therefore, there is no justification to delay epidural analgesia in labor until the presenting fetal part is engaged.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999