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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effects of epidural lidocaine analgesia on labor and delivery: A randomized, prospective, controlled trial

Shahram Nafisi

Author Affiliations

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Kashan University of Medical Sciences (KAUMS), Kashan, Iran

BMC Anesthesiology 2006, 6:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-6-15

Published: 18 December 2006



Whether epidural analgesia for labor prolongs the active-first and second labor stages and increases the risk of vacuum-assisted delivery is a controversial topic. Our study was conducted to answer the question: does lumbar epidural analgesia with lidocaine affect the progress of labor in our obstetric population?


395 healthy, nulliparous women, at term, presented in spontaneous labor with a singleton vertex presentation. These patients were randomized to receive analgesia either, epidural with bolus doses of 1% lidocaine or intravenous, with meperidine 25 to 50 mg when their cervix was dilated to 4 centimeters. The duration of the active-first and second stages of labor and the neonatal apgar scores were recorded, in each patient. The total number of vacuum-assisted and cesarean deliveries were also measured.


197 women were randomized to the epidural group. 198 women were randomized to the single-dose intravenous meperidine group. There was no statistical difference in rates of vacuum-assisted delivery rate. Cesarean deliveries, as a consequence of fetal bradycardia or dystocia, did not differ significantly between the groups. Differences in the duration of the active-first and the second stages of labor were not statistically significant. The number of newborns with 1-min and 5-min Apgar scores less than 7, did not differ significantly between both analgesia groups.


Epidural analgesia with 1% lidocaine does not prolong the active-first and second stages of labor and does not increase vacuum-assisted or cesarean delivery rate.