A 10-year initiative called the “No Pain Labor N’ Delivery China Mission.” has been founded by Ling Qun Hu, M.D., a Chinese-Canadian anesthesiologist from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago. Dr. Hu’s goal is to establish more than 10 training centers in China to teach safe and effective labor analgesia practices, particularly epidural analgesia, over a 10-year period.
The vast majority of women in China do not have the option of pain
relief during labor. The country also has the highest overall Cesarean
delivery rate in the world and the highest rate by maternal request (no
medical indication). Although Chinese women express concern about the
safety of vaginal delivery and the pain associated with it, Cesarean
delivery (in both first and third-world countries) is associated with
higher rates of maternal death and severe complications.
“It has been a dream for Chinese women to give birth without pain and
without compromising safety,” said Dr. Hu. “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
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. Before the study,
none of the women took pain relief medication, and around 50 percent had
Cesarean delivery. After six months, epidural analgesia was chosen by
more than half of the women, even though 100 percent of the cost was
assumed by the patient. Also, the monthly birth rate in the hospital
went from 747 to 1,046, despite the fact that women in the community
have a choice of several hospitals and two-thirds of area births take
place in other facilities.
Read more: American Society of Anesthesiologists