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Chinese Mothers Experience Pain-Free Labor

Update Date: Oct 15, 2012 09:43 AM EDT

There are some dreams that will never come true: a money tree for instance; or the ability to miss a flight and not worry because you'll simply ride your chimera to your appointment; true world peace.

Other dreams are absolute probabilities: like a communication device that is hands free and easy to use, a world where traffic jams is a thing of the past; the end of cancer.

Another dream that originated in ancient Chinese texts, but spoke volumes to women all over the world was a pain free birthing experience. But before modern day this fantasy was in the realm of the improbable, but strong advocates of the idea made it possible in other areas of the world in the form of Anesthesia and now other advocates in china have dedicated 10 years to making their dream into a probable reality---and are ever closer.

The initiative which is called the "No Pain Labor N' Delivery China Mission," has been attempting to reduce the pain of women in labor to a magical 0 percent. According to reports from the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM 2012 annual meeting, from 2009-2011:

  1. The labor epidural rate increased from 0 to 59 percent.
  2. The Cesarean delivery rate decreased from 47 to 30 percent.
  1. The rate of episiotomy decreased from 73 to 25 percent
  1. Tests assessing stress levels of newborns indicated that the infants were less stressed

"It has been a dream for Chinese women to give birth without pain and without compromising safety," said Ling Qun Hu, M.D., a Chinese-Canadian anesthesiologist from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who is the missions finder. "Common questions on Chinese childbirth websites include Where can I get labor pain relief? Which pain relief method is the best? And Is pain relief medication safe for my baby?"

Epidural analgesia training centers have been built in china to teach clinicians how to perform safe and effective. Prior to 2008, the majority of chines women did not have the option of pain relief during labor. It has had the highest rate of Cessarean deliveries by maternal request than any other country, despite the fact that they are aware of the high risks of maternal death and complications the procedure can have.

Using the No Pain Labor system, the Shijiazhuan Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital near Beijing initiated a labor epidural service and experienced dramatic results in the first six months. Not only did clinicians experience an increase monthly child-birth rates from 747 to 1,046, but from women who had a choice of several other cheaper hospitals I the community and despite the factthat pateints paid for the epidural 100 percent out of pocket.

"Our mission reinforces the concept that providing epidural analgesia is more than just the procedure itself," said Dr. Hu. "...we hope that our contributions will improve the health of mothers and babies, first in China, and then elsewhere."

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