Epidurals Increase the Time a Mama Might Push

Epidural injection

It’s officially official: women who opt for an epidural during labor take an average of more than two hours longer to deliver their babe than moms who don’t get the medication, a new study concluded.

For doctors, this might mean that a slowed down labor doesn’t necessarily require medical intervention as often as they thought. Previously epidurals were believed to slow down the second stage of labor–the pushing part–by about an hour. With these new findings, doctors may feel more confident in letting a slowed labor proceed and therefore eliminating some C-sections.

A lower chance of a C-section is great news for American moms, who statistically face about a 33% chance that their labor could result in a section. Of course, no mama wants to hear confirmation that an epidural–the pain-relief godsend used by about three out of every four women during childbirth–will almost surely extend the amount of time she’ll have to spend pushing her baby out.

But for most moms, a couple of extra hours is surely worth it, given the alternative of a faster but unmedicated delivery. After all, we patiently wait nine long months to meet our babies, so what’s another two hours anyway? Especially if that time is spent well-numbed below the waist.