A study done at Brigham and Women'sHospital in Boston, Mass, showed thatreceiving an epidural analgesic during laborincreases the risk of the fetus assuming aface-up position. Instead of the face-up positionsparking the need for an epidural,research shows that it is more probable thatthe epidural causes the repositioning.
Researchers used ultrasound data from1562 women during labor and delivery,92% of whom received epidurals. Theynoted that fetal position changes werecommon during labor. At the initial examination,~49% of fetuses were facing sideways,27% facing down, and 24% facingup. At delivery, the rates were 8%, 80%,and 12%, respectively.
In epidural patients, 12.9% of fetuseswere delivered face-up, but only 3.3% innonepidural patients.