Doctors are being warned not to intervene as quickly as currently suggested in births that involve epidural anesthesia, according to a recent study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study found that epidurals are associated with an even longer duration in the second stage of birth, the one in which women push, than is generally recognized, suggesting that some women may be subject to unnecessary interventions – including oxytocin, forceps, vacuum or a cesarean – by doctors who wrongly fear labor has become prolonged.

A normal second stage can take as long as 5.6 hours for women who get epidurals during their first births, and as long as 3.3 hours for those who do not get epidurals, according to the study.

Current guidelines by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists define an abnormally long second stage of birth as more than three hours for women who received an epidural and are giving birth for the first time, and more than two hours for first births without an epidural.

“It’s time to re-examine what normal and abnormal is, and revise our guidelines based on modern obstetric population,” said Dr. Yvonne W. Cheng, the lead author of the study. Read the full details here:

Study Suggests Misplaced Fears in Longer Childbirths

A new research paper indicates lengthening the second stage of labor, the pushing phase. This may lead to longer labors and the possibility of brain damage, increases in cerebral palsy or other birth injuries. The lengthening of labor, this study believes, would not lead to such birth complications however.

If you believe your child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, please call to investigate your matter fully. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.