Title

The Relationship of Epidural Labor Analgesia and Apgar Scores

Date of Award

8-1-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Childbirth can be a very painful process. Pain that accompanies labor induces the stress response which is a very dynamic process and can cause maternal and fetal complications. Maternal responses to the stress of labor and delivery include hyperventilation, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure. These effects can adversely impact the fetus by inducing abnormal fetal heart rates and rhythms, fetal acidosis, and low placental blood flow. Epidural labor analgesia is a pain relieving modality that reduces the stress response in the laboring woman.

The purpose of this study was to discover if relationships between epidural labor analgesia and Apgar scores exist. From these potential relationships, it was determined if there is an effect of maternal epidural labor analgesia on Apgar scores of the newborn. The significance of this study was to offer pregnant women and healthcare providers with comprehensive information regarding epic ' labor analgesia and Apgar scores; thus, allowing for an informed maternal decision regarding her labor and delivery process.

Dr. Hans Selves general adaptation syndrome was the theoretical framework used to guide this nonexperimental, correlational research study. Data were collected from 100 participants utilizing a retrospective chart review. The results of this study were consistent with results obtained from other researchers whose studies were examined in this study, except in relation to Apgar scores and birth weight. The mean Apgar scores in this study were slightly lower in the epidural group than in the non-epidural group; although , these means were found to he nonsignificant. All of the newborns were viable and Apgar scores were satisfactory in both groups. The impact of this study has potentiated the need for further research and testified in recommendations for practice, education, and policy.

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