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Parenteral Opioids for Labor Analgesia


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: September 2003 - Volume 46 - Issue 3 - p 616-622
Obstetric Anesthesia

Labor pain relief is an important aspect of women's health that has historically been neglected. Epidural analgesia is the only consistently effective method of labor pain relief and has recently undergone substantial improvements to address the concerns of both parturients and obstetric care providers. With increased physician awareness, these recent advances are becoming more widely accepted and routinely available for all laboring parturients. Unfortunately, an increasing number of women are presenting to maternity wards with an absolute contraindication to epidural labor analgesia. The present review will provide an outline of the recent developments in parenteral analgesic options which complement modern epidural analgesic techniques. Protocols for the initiation of “state-of-the-art” parenteral analgesic techniques are provided as a guide to facilitate effective, modern, parenteral labor analgesia.

Department of Anesthesia, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Obstetrics Section, Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society and Saskatoon Health Region

Correspondence: Dr. David C. Campbell MD, MSc, FRCPC Professor and Chairman Department of Anesthesia College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Drive Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA S7N 0W8, E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.