The effects of water immersion and epidural analgesia on cellular immune response, neuroendocrine, and oxidative markers


Abstract: Background/aim: Water immersion and epidural analgesia are the most preferred pain relief methods during the labor process. Adverse effects related to these methods, impact on the labor, and perception of pain is well studied in the literature. We aimed to investigate the cord blood level of copeptin, total serum oxidant (TOS), antioxidant (TAS), interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, and oxytocin after the labor with water immersion, epidural analgesia, and vaginal birth without pain relief. Materials and methods: The study was conducted with 102 healthy pregnant women admitted to the obstetric delivery unit for noncomplicated term birth. Copeptin, oxytocin, TAS, TOS, IL-1, and IL-6 levels of cord blood and obstetric and neonatal results after vaginal birth were compared. Results: The study included a total of 102 patients (group 1 = 30, group 2 = 30, and group 3 = 42). We found no significant difference between the three groups in terms of BMI, age, gravidity, parity, birth week, birth weight, interventional birth, perineal trauma, breastfeeding, duration of labor, oxytocin, IL-1 and IL-6 levels (p > 0.05). Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) need, TAS, TOS, and copeptin levels were higher. Apgar scores were lower in the epidural group (p = 0.011, p = 0.036, p = 0.027, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001 respectively). Conclusion: Epidural analgesia has deteriorated oxidative stress status and lower neonatal Apgar scores with higher NICU administration compared with water birth and vaginal birth without pain relief.

Keywords: Epidural analgesia; infection; neuroendocrine; oxidative stress; waterbirth

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