by Cassandra R. Elias
You thought it was just your hormones or the hard work, and that's why rivulets of sweat are pouring off your body -- but it's not.
If you had an epidural, you're more likely to run a fever during labor. A study recently published in "Pediatrics" found that as having an epidural increased your risk of a fever and that as your temperature rose, the baby was more likely to experience problems.
"Fever of more than 100.4°F developed during labor in 19% of epidural users compared with just 2% of those who went without," said Elizabeth Greenwell, a doctoral candidate at Harvard School of Public Health when she did the research.
The study looked at more than 2000 low-risk, first-time moms in labor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
In the group of women receiving epidurals,
Babies whose mothers develop an epidural fever face a greater risk of having problems right after birth -- the higher the temperature, the greater risk. If mom's temperate is over 101%deg; the baby is:
"It's clear that from our data that about 20 percent of the term infants born to mothers who received epidurals experienced one or more adverse outcomes after birth," Greenwell said.
Does this mean you shouldn't have an epidural?
That's a decision only you and your caregiver can make.
We encourage you to weigh the risks and benefits, study other childbirth options, and if you decide an epidural meets your needs, consider these tips that could help keep your temperature normal.
Are you planning an epidural this birth? Will your timing or birth plan change with the release of this study? Please share your thought in the comments.
About the study: Elizabeth Greenwell, Sc.D., University of Colorado Denver, Colorado School of Public Health; Eva Pressman, M.D., maternal-fetal medicine specialist, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; February 2012 Pediatrics.
The study consisted of all low-risk pregnancy for first-time women carrying a single baby to term pregnancies from Brigham and Women's Hospital during 2000. Colleagues looked for an association of fever during labor with adverse neonatal outcomes.
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