Intended for healthcare professionals


Women from more deprived backgrounds are less likely to have an epidural, finds study

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 16 February 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q411
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. The BMJ

Women from poorer backgrounds are less likely to have an epidural during labour than women from richer backgrounds, even when it is medically indicated, a study has found.

Overall 131 521 of nearly 600 000 women (22.2%) who were in labour between January 2007 and October 2020 in Scotland received epidural pain relief, according to NHS data.

But when researchers looked at the socioeconomic status of the women they found that there was an absolute difference in epidural use of 4% between women from the most deprived (21.2%, 95% confidence interval 20.8% to 21.4%) and women …

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