Giving an enema during labor not such a good idea after all

June 1, 2007

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Although many clinicians believe in them, giving an enema during the first stage of labor increases time to delivery-by an average of 112 minutes-according to a study presented at the recent ACOG Annual Clinical Meeting in San Diego. To reach that conclusion, investigators did a randomized prospective study, assigning 152 women to a standard 1-L soap enema within 30 minutes of enrollment (n=75) or no enema (n=77). While enemas did reduce the rate of fecal soiling at delivery (11% vs. 30%), there was no difference in the rate of intrapartum infection after results were controlled for duration of membrane rupture. Additionally, there was no difference in the mode of delivery between the two groups.

Clarke NT, Jenkins TR. Randomized prospective trial of the effects of an enema during labor. Obstet Gynecol. 2007;109(suppl):7S.