The relationship between labor pain management, cortisol level and risk of postpartum depression development: a prospective nonrandomized observational monocentric trial

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21454/rjaic.7518.252.rzn

Oksana V. Riazanova1, Yurii S. Alexandrovich1, Alexander M. Ioscovich2

1 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Saint-Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Treatment, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Postpartum depression (PPD) is the main psychological status disorder and women suffering from postpartum depression often need long-term psychological and socio-economic rehabilitation. The study is dedicated to the evaluation of the role of labor pain management using epidural analgesia in natural delivery on stress level in labor and frequency of postnatal depression.
Materials and methods: 210 women were investigated and divided into two groups. In the first group for labor pain management in natural delivery, patient-controlled epidural analgesia was used (bolus – 10.0 – 0.08% ropivacaine hydrochloride, lockout – 30 min, limit – 120 ml/6 h) with a background of continuousflow infusion of local anesthetic 0.08% ropivacaine hydrocluoride solution. Patients in the second group had no pain relief in delivery. The stress level was evaluated using blood plasma cortisol level in the early stages of labor, 6 hours and 3 days after delivery. The assessment of depression development was carried out step-by-step: Before the delivery, 6 hours after, 3 days and 6 weeks after the delivery.
Results: The baby blues frequency 6 hours after the delivery in the group where the pain relief was conducted was 29.91%, with cortisol level below and equal to 2310.91 nmol/l. In the group with no pain relief 6 hours after delivery, baby blues was found in 15.53% of puerperas (p < 0.05) and the cortisol level was 2673.82 nmol/l (p < 0.05). Six weeks after the birth, postpartum depression was diagnosed in 4.67% of women who received epidural analgesia during delivery, in comparison to 6.79% with no pain relief during
delivery. However, the difference was not statistically significant (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The use of epidural analgesia leads to a significant reduction of pain syndrome and stress response during natural delivery, increases the risk of baby blues in the early postnatal period, but slightly influences the frequency of postpartum depression.
Keywords: postpartum depression, baby blues, epidural analgesia, natural delivery, stress, cortisol