Canadian Journal of Anesthesia

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 490–492 | Cite as

Epidural analgesia does not prolong the third stage of labour

  • Ola P. Rosaeg
  • Nicola Campbell
  • Mary Lou Crossan
Obstetrical and Pediatric Anesthesia



To investigate whether there is an association between epidural analgesia and duration of third stage of labour, and between epidural analgesia and type of placental delivery (spontaneous vs expressed vs manual).


We examined, retrospectively, the computerized labour and delivery data of all 7,468 parturients who had vaginal deliveries from 1996 to 1999 at the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital.


There was no difference in duration of third stage of labour between women with and without epidural pain relief who had spontaneous or expressed (fundal pressure/gentle cord traction) placental delivery. Duration of third stage of labour was shorter in women with epidural analgesia requiring manual removal of placenta. (25.3 minvs 40.1 min,P < 0.0001). The incidence of expressed placental delivery or manual removal of placenta was not different between the groups.


We conclude that there is no clinically important difference in duration of third stage of labour between women with or without epidural analgesia who have spontaneous placental delivery or placental expulsion with fundal pressure/gentle cord traction. However, duration of third stage of labour was shorter in women who received epidural analgesia and required manual removal of the placenta.

L’analgésie épidurale ne prolonge pas la délivrance lors de l’accouchement



Rechercher une association possible entre l’analgésie épidurale et la durée de la délivrance, et entre l’analgésie épidurale et ie type d’expulsion placentaire (spontanée vs facilitée vs manuelle).


Nous avons vérifié, rétrospectivement, les données informatiques sur ie travail et l’accouchement par voie vaginale de 7 468 parturientes, entre 1996 et 1999 au Civic Campus du Ottawa Hospital.


La durée de la déiivrance n’a pas été différente, que les femmes aient reçu ou non une analgésie épidurale et aient connu une délivrance spontanée ou facilitée (pression utérine/légère traction ombilicale). La délivrance a été plus courte chez les femmes qui ont reçu de l’anaigésie épidurale et chez qui on a dû extraire manuellement le placenta. (25,3 min vs 40,1 min, P < 0,0001). L’incidence d’expulsion placentaire facilitée ou d’extraction manuelle n’a pas été différente entre les groupes.


La durée de la délivrance ne présente pas de différence clinique significative entre les femmes qui ont reçu ou non de l’analgésie épidurale, qui ont connu une délivrance spontanée ou une expulsion placentaire avec compression utérine/légère traction ombilicale. Cependant, elle a été plus courte chez les femmes qui ont reçu l’analgésie épidurale et qui ont connu une délivrance manuelle.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ola P. Rosaeg
    • 1
  • Nicola Campbell
    • 1
  • Mary Lou Crossan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, The Ottawa HospitalUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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