Not according to William Camann, an anesthesiologist and author of Easy Labor: Every Women’s Guide to Choosing Less Pain and More Joy in Childbirth. Camann said, “All of the available evidence now, and there are lots of good studies on this, very clearly shows no cause-and-effect relationship between epidurals and cesareans.”
A 2007 review published by Cochrane concluded that, “Epidural analgesia had no statistically significant impact on the risk of caesarean section.” The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a “committee report” in June of 2006 (there doesn’t appear to be a link online, but you can purchase the full article here) that stated, “three recent meta-analyses systematically and independently reviewed the previous literature, and all concluded that the epidural analgesia does not increase the rate of Cesarean delivery.” The final paragraph sums up their stance, “The fear of unnecessary cesarean delivery should not influence the method of pain relief that women choose during labor.”
You can read two other studies/commentaries on this topic here and here.
I’ll keep you posted as new studies are published on the topic. Stay tuned also for an upcoming post about the history of the epidural…
(Photo by: Ben McLeod)