Ok, so first of all, I'll just recap what we all know ie no epidural is better for getting baby out, reducing time in labour, reducing chance of c-sec, etc.
However - for those planning on an epidural, I thought I'd just mention this that I just came across.
A study has trialled using peanut balls in labour where epidurals have been used and found they were really effective for reducing the time in labour:
I have cut and paste the study abstract (PB = peanut ball) but if you want the full study PM me.
(you can also see from the results that the PB group required less instrumental deliveries, and also that syntocin is associated with longer pushing etc)
Patients in both groups were turned every 1 to 2 hours from side to side or semi-Fowler. The PB would be applied between the patient's legs after the patient received the epidural. The control would monitor the patient beginning at the time the epidural was placed.
The randomization assigned 200 laboring women to either the PB (n=107) or no PB (n=93). The primary outcome was women using the PB had a first stage labor time of 258.8 versus 341.9 minutes for those who did not use the PB for a difference of 90 minutes (0.006). The PB group had a 21.3 minute second stage and the control had a 43.5 minute second stage for a difference of 22.3 minutes. The use of the vacuum was 9.7 in the control and 6.7 with use of the PB. The use of the forceps in the control was 2.2 and in the PB was 1.9. The secondary outcomes included maternal age gestational age of fetus, weight of newborn, augmentation of labor with oxytocin, which did not differ significantly between the two groups. With one exception the PB group had a cervical dilation that was 4.7 versus 4.2 cm for the control group at the start of the study. For every 1 cm more dilated the patient presented upon enrollment into the study the labor was reduced by 35 minutes. Total oxytocin time extended the length of first and second stage labor. No serious adverse events associated with use of the PB were reported. Every 1 hour oxytocin used increased pushing time 1.2 minutes. Length of pushing was variable with the use of oxytocin or parity.
Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice
The use of the PB during labor for patients with an epidural significantly reduced the length of labor without adverse neonatal outcomes.
I can't find any images of how this works except for this:
Anyway I thought I would post this because there is so little info on giving yourself the best shot with an epidural!