Epidural may lower risk of internal organ damage

August 26, 2010 2:42:34 PM PDT
Many pregnant women must decide if they will have an epidural to help ease the pain of childbirth. Now, doctors say the procedure may offer some unexpected protection.

Research in the international obstetrics journal BJOG finds more than one in 10 women who had vaginal births suffered damage to the muscles that hold up internal organs. But, overall, women who had an epidural ran a lower risk of damage.

Researchers are not sure why the pain relieving procedure may help. They suggest it could prevent women from over pushing or pushing too early.

Also, physical changes in the temporarily paralyzed muscles may also mean it is less likely to be injured.