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Randomised controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia in first stage of labour

Record type: Article

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of labouring in water during first stage of labour on rates of epidural analgesia and operative delivery in nulliparous women with dystocia.
Design: Randomised controlled trial.
Setting: University teaching hospital in southern England.
Participants: 99 nulliparous women with dystocia (cervical dilation rate < 1 cm/hour in active labour) at low risk of complications.
Interventions: Immersion in water in birth pool or standard augmentation for dystocia (amniotomy and intravenous oxytocin).
Main outcome measures: Primary: epidural analgesia and operative delivery rates. Secondary: augmentation rates with amniotomy and oxytocin, length of labour, maternal and neonatal morbidity including infections, maternal pain score, and maternal satisfaction with care.
Results: Women randomised to immersion in water had a lower rate of epidural analgesia than women allocated to augmentation (47% v 66%, relative risk 0.71 (95% confidence interval 0.49 to 1.01), number needed to treat for benefit (NNT) 5). They showed no difference in rates of operative delivery (49% v 50%, 0.98 (0.65 to 1.47), NNT 98), but significantly fewer received augmentation (71% v 96%, 0.74 (0.59 to 0.88), NNT 4) or any form of obstetric intervention (amniotomy, oxytocin, epidural, or operative delivery) (80% v 98%, 0.81 (0.67 to 0.92), NNT 5). More neonates of women in the water group were admitted to the neonatal unit (6 v 0, P = 0.013), but there was no difference in Apgar score, infection rates, or umbilical cord pH.
Conclusions: Labouring in water under midwifery care may be an option for slow progress in labour, reducing the need for obstetric intervention, and offering an alternative pain management strategy.

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Citation

Cluett, E.R., Pickering, R.M., Getliffe, K. and St. George Saunders, N.J. (2004) Randomised controlled trial of labouring in water compared with standard of augmentation for management of dystocia in first stage of labour BMJ, 328, (7435), pp. 314-319. (doi:10.1136/bmj.37963.606412.EE).

More information

Published date: 2004
Keywords: labour in water, randomised control trial, management of dystocia, first stage of labour, labour, dystocia

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 24293
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/24293
ISSN: 0959-8138
PURE UUID: e048da9b-a532-41ac-af27-c739d952a513
ORCID for E.R. Cluett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8707-5042

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:14

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