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Outcomes to measure the effects of pharmacological interventions for pain management for women during labour and birth: A review of systematic reviews and randomised trials
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  • Annie Tan,
  • Alyce N Wilson ,
  • Donya Eghrari,
  • Hannah Clark ,
  • Wai Chung Tse ,
  • Meghan Bohren,
  • Caroline Homer,
  • Joshua P Vogel
Annie Tan
Burnet Institute

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Alyce N Wilson
Burnet Institute
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Donya Eghrari
Burnet Institute
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Hannah Clark
Burnet Institute
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Wai Chung Tse
Monash University Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences
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Meghan Bohren
The University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
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Caroline Homer
Burnet Institute
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Joshua P Vogel
Burnet Institute, University of Melbourne
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Background: Pharmacological pain management options can relieve women’s pain during labour and birth. Trials of these interventions have used a wide variety of outcomes, complicating meaningful comparisons of their effects. Consensus about key outcomes would facilitate the development of a core outcome set to assess the effectiveness of labour pain management. Objective: To identify all outcomes used in studies of pharmacological pain management interventions during labour and birth. Design: A review of systematic reviews and their included randomised controlled trials was undertaken. Search Strategy: Cochrane CENTRAL was searched to identify all Cochrane systematic reviews describing pharmacological pain management options for labour and birth. Search terms included “pain management”, “labour” and variants, with no limits on year of publication or language. Selection Criteria: Cochrane reviews and randomised controlled trials contained within these reviews were included, provided they compared a pharmacological intervention with other pain management options, placebo or no treatment. Data Collection and Analysis: All outcomes reported by reviews or trials were extracted and tabulated, with frequencies of individual outcomes reported. Main Results: Nine Cochrane reviews and 227 unique trials were included. In total, 148 unique outcomes were identified and categorised into maternal, fetal, neonatal, child, health service, provider’s perspective, or economic outcome domains. Conclusions: Outcomes of pharmacological pain management interventions during labour and birth vary widely between trials. The standardisation of trial outcomes would permit more meaningful comparison between studies. Funding: No external funding was provided. Keywords: Labour and birth; pain management; pharmacological interventions; systematic review
05 Mar 2021Submitted to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
08 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
08 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
04 Apr 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
13 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Oct 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major
07 Nov 20211st Revision Received
07 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
07 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
07 Nov 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
18 Nov 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
May 2022Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology volume 129 issue 6 on pages 845-854. 10.1111/1471-0528.17031