Fever More Common During Labor in Moms with Epidurals

Pregnancyorg Staff's picture

by Cassandra R. Elias

In the News: Labor "Heats Up" During Epidurals

Fever during labor with epiduralYou thought it was just your hormones, and that's why rivulets of sweat are pouring off your body -- but it's not.

What are we referring to? It was recently discovered that woman who have an epidural were more prone to developing a fever than those who did not have the procedure.

As it turns out, even a slightly elevated temperature during labor could potentially hurt the baby.

A study group headed by Elizabeth A. Greenwell found that more women undergoing an epidural run a fever during labor.

"[A] fever of more than 100.4°F developed during labor in 19% of epidural users compared with just 2% of those who went without," the study colleagues reported.

Researchers aren't sure why a link exists between epidurals and fever, but believe that inflammation might be involved.

Babies whose mothers develop an epidural fever are at a greater risk of having problems right after birth. They're two to six more likely to have poor muscle tone, need ventilation, have low Apgar scores, and experience early-onset seizures.

"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," said study author Elizabeth Greenwell, a doctoral candidate at Harvard School of Public Health when she did the research.

Your Action Points

  • Ask for information about the procedure so you know the risks and benefits.
  • If you opt for an epidural consider having it later in labor.

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