Vol 78, No 7 (2007)

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Anxiety assessment in parturients requesting epidural analgesia for pain relief

Hanna Bilert, Michał Gaca, Jolanta Miluska, Grzegorz H. Bręborowicz
Ginekol Pol 2007;78(7).


Objectives: Neuraxial methods provide the most effective labor pain relief. This study aimed at assessing anxiety level in parturients requesting epidural analgesia (EA). Material and methods: Forty five women in spontaneous, active labor were enrolled, both primiparas (n=36) and multiparas (n=9). Anxiety was assessed by means of Spielberger State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before administration of EA, and pain was measured by visual-analog scale (VAS) before and after analgesia. Results: In all the studied parturients state anxiety was strikingly higher than the trait (53,9+/-11.8 vs. 39,3+/-8.4; P<0.0001); the difference appeared insignificant in multiparas only. State anxiety was comparable independently of parity, labor outcome and systemic opioid administration. No association between anxiety level and labor pain intensity preceding analgesia, the duration of labor stages and demographic parameters could be found. However, a negative correlation between state anxiety and pain intensity reported after EA administration was noted (R= -0,315, p=0,040), and, in cases of physiological labor, a negative association between state anxiety and the neonate Apgar score at the 1st minute after birth could be observed (R= -0,337, p = 0,047, Spearman rank test). Conclusions: In parturients requesting EA, state anxiety level is increased and not connected with the trait. Furthermore, in these women, anxiety appears not to be associated with labor pain but may influence the analgesic effect of the blockade. Anxiety does not determine labor duration and outcome; however, it may be connected with the well-being of the neonate immediately after birth.

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