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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Position in the second stage of labour for women with epidural anaesthesia

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (87th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (62nd percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
15 X users
2 Facebook pages


34 Dimensions

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408 Mendeley
Position in the second stage of labour for women with epidural anaesthesia
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, February 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd008070.pub3
Pubmed ID

Marion Kibuka, Jim G Thornton


Epidural analgesia for pain relief in labour prolongs the second stage of labour and results in more instrumental deliveries. It has been suggested that a more upright position of the mother during all or part of the second stage may counteract these adverse effects. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2013. To assess the effects of different birthing positions (upright and recumbent) during the second stage of labour, on important maternal and fetal outcomes for women with epidural analgesia. We searched Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register (19 September 2016) and reference lists of retrieved studies. All randomised or quasi-randomised trials including pregnant women (either primigravidae or multigravidae) in the second stage of induced or spontaneous labour receiving epidural analgesia of any kind. Cluster-RCTs would have been eligible for inclusion in this review but none were identified. Studies published in abstract form only were eligible for inclusion.We assumed the experimental type of intervention to be the maternal use of any upright position during the second stage of labour, compared with the control intervention of the use of any recumbent position. Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy. We contacted study authors to try to obtain missing data. Five randomised controlled trials, involving 879 women, comparing upright positions versus recumbent positions were included in this updated review. Four trials were conducted in the UK and one in France. Three of the five trials were funded by the hospital departments in which the trials were carried out. For the other three trials, funding sources were either unclear (one trial) or not reported (two trials). Each trial varied in levels of bias. We assessed all the trials as being at low or unclear risk of selection bias. None of the trials blinded women, staff or outcome assessors. One trial was poor quality, being at high risk of attrition and reporting bias. We assessed the evidence using the GRADE approach; the evidence for most outcomes was assessed as being very low quality, and evidence for one outcome was judged as moderate quality.Overall, we identified no clear difference between upright and recumbent positions on our primary outcomes of operative birth (caesarean or instrumental vaginal) (average risk ratio (RR) 0.97; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76 to 1.29; five trials, 874 women; I² = 54% moderate-quality evidence), or duration of the second stage of labour measured as the randomisation-to-birth interval (average mean difference -22.98 minutes; 95% CI -99.09 to 53.13; two trials, 322 women; I² = 92%; very low-quality evidence). Nor did we identify any clear differences in any other important maternal or fetal outcome, including trauma to the birth canal requiring suturing (average RR 0.95; 95% CI 0.66 to 1.37; two trials; 173 women; studies = two; I² = 74%; very low-quality evidence), abnormal fetal heart patterns requiring intervention (RR 1.69; 95% CI 0.32 to 8.84; one trial; 107 women; very low-quality evidence), low cord pH (RR 0.61; 95% CI 0.18 to 2.10; one trial; 66 infants; very low-quality evidence) or admission to neonatal intensive care unit (RR 0.54; 95% CI 0.02 to 12.73; one trial; 66 infants; very low-quality evidence). However, the CIs around each estimate were wide, and clinically important effects have not been ruled out. Outcomes were downgraded for study design, high heterogeneity and imprecision in effect estimates.There were no data reported on blood loss (greater than 500 mL), prolonged second stage or maternal experience and satisfaction with labour. Similarly, there were no analysable data on Apgar scores, and no data reported on the need for ventilation or for perinatal death. There are insufficient data to say anything conclusive about the effect of position for the second stage of labour for women with epidural analgesia. The GRADE quality assessment of the evidence in this review ranged between moderate to low quality, with downgrading decisions based on design limitations in the studies, inconsistency, and imprecision of effect estimates.Women with an epidural should be encouraged to use whatever position they find comfortable in the second stage of labour.More studies with larger sample sizes will need to be conducted in order for solid conclusions to be made about the effect of position on labour in women with an epidural. Two studies are ongoing and we will incorporate the results into this review at a future update.Future studies should have the protocol registered, so that sample size, primary outcome, analysis plan, etc. are all clearly prespecified. The time or randomisation should be recorded, since this is the only unbiased starting time point from which the effect of position on duration of labour can be estimated. Future studies might wish to include an arm in which women were allowed to choose the position in which they felt most comfortable. Future studies should ensure that both compared positions are acceptable to women, that women can remain in them for most of the late part of labour, and report the number of women who spend time in the allocated position and the amount of time they spend in this or other positions.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 408 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 <1%
Unknown 407 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 61 15%
Student > Bachelor 57 14%
Researcher 37 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 32 8%
Student > Postgraduate 31 8%
Other 80 20%
Unknown 110 27%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 113 28%
Nursing and Health Professions 107 26%
Psychology 14 3%
Social Sciences 8 2%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 6 1%
Other 38 9%
Unknown 122 30%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 18. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 April 2023.
All research outputs
of 26,370,291 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,211 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 328,979 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 288 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 26,370,291 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 91st percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,211 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.7. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 66% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 328,979 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 288 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 62% of its contemporaries.