Intensity of labor pain and cesarean delivery

James M. Alexander, Shiv K. Sharma, Donald D. McIntire, Jackie Wiley, Kenneth J. Leveno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Some authors have suggested that the intensity of labor pain may be related to labor dystocia. We performed a secondary analysis of a previously published randomized investigation of the effects of epidural analgesia during labor compared with patient-controlled IV meperidine on cesarean delivery. Two-hundred-fifty-nine women who received patient-controlled IV meperidine were identified for analysis. All women were in spontaneous labor with a singleton, term gestation. Women requiring 50 mg or more of meperidine per hour during labor were compared with those who required <50 mg/h. In addition, their pain scores (visual analog scale) were compared before and after analgesia administration. Pain scores were significantly higher in women requiring 50 mg/h of meperidine (8.7 vs 8.0, P = 0.05), and their labors tended to be longer (9 vs 5 h, P = 0.09). More cesarean deliveries for obstructed labor were performed in women requiring >50 mg/h of meperidine (14% vs 1.4%, P = 0.001). Neonatal outcomes were similar in the two groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1528
Number of pages5
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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