ABSTRACT: The aim was to compare the childbirth experiences of primiparous women with slow labour progress who had received early versus postponed oxytocin augmentation.
The population included healthy primiparous women with slow labour progress after a normal pregnancy and spontaneous onset of active labour at term who had taken part in a randomized controlled trial at two delivery units in Sweden comparing early versus postponed oxytocin augmentation. A total of 536 women were sent the Childbirth Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) one month postpartum. The 22-item questionnaire assesses four domains of the childbirth experience. Main outcomes were the four domains of the CEQ: Own capacity, Professional support, Perceived safety and Participation.
There were no significant differences between the women in the early and expectant oxytocin treatment groups in any of the four domains; however, operative births were associated with significantly worse childbirth experiences. Almost every third woman in both groups had negative and depressing memories from the childbirth process.
Early oxytocin augmentation for slow labour progress does not appear to be more beneficial than expectant management regarding women's perceptions of childbirth one month postpartum. Given the risks for the foetus associated with oxytocin treatment, prudent expectant management seems to be a safe and viable alternative.
Sexual & reproductive healthcare: official journal of the Swedish Association of Midwives 06/2012; 3(2):61-5.