ACOG Committee Opinion No. 742 Summary: Postpartum Pain Management.
Obstetrics and gynecology
Pain and fatigue are the most common problems reported by women in the early postpartum period. Pain can interfere with a woman's ability to care for herself and her infant. Untreated pain is associated with a risk of greater opioid use, postpartum depression, and development of persistent pain. Nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies are important components of postpartum pain management. Because 81% of women in the United States initiate breastfeeding during the postpartum period, it is important to consider the drug effects of all prescribed medications on the mother-infant dyad. Multimodal analgesia uses drugs that have different mechanisms of action, which potentiates the analgesic effect. If opioids are included, a multimodal regimen used in a stepwise approach allows for administration of lower doses of opioids. Given interindividual variation in metabolism of opioids, as well as the risk of maternal and neonatal adverse effects in women who are ultra-rapid metabolizers of codeine, monitoring for excessive sedation and other adverse effects in infants is prudent for women who are prescribed opiates. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations underscore the need for anticipatory guidance regarding opioid effects in all patients, obstetrician-gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should ensure that the application of this guidance does not interfere with pain control or disrupt breastfeeding during the postpartum period. Women with opioid use disorder, women who have chronic pain, and women who are using other medications or substances that may increase sedation need additional support in managing postpartum pain.
Implementation of a Hydrotherapy Protocol to Improve Postpartum Pain Management.
Batten Meghann,Stevenson Eleanor,Zimmermann Deb,Isaacs Christine
Journal of midwifery & women's health
INTRODUCTION:A growing number of women are seeking alternatives to traditional pharmacologic pain management during birth. While there has been an extensive array of nonpharmacologic options developed for labor, there are limited offerings in the postpartum period. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to implement a hydrotherapy protocol in the early postpartum period to improve pain management for women choosing a nonmedicated birth. PROCESS:The postpartum hydrotherapy protocol was initiated in a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) practice in an urban academic medical center. All women who met criteria were offered a 30-minute warm water immersion bath at one hour postpartum. Pain scores were assessed prior to the bath, at 15 minutes after onset, and again at the conclusion (30 minutes). Women who completed the bath were also asked to complete a brief survey on their experience with postpartum hydrotherapy. OUTCOMES:In women who used the bath (N = 45), there was a significant reduction in pain scores (P < .001) between the onset of the bath and scores at both 15 minutes and 30 minutes. There was no significant difference between pain scores at 15 minutes and 30 minutes (P = .97). Of those women who completed a survey (n = 43), 97.7% reported both that the bath reduced their pain and improved their birth experience. One hundred percent reported they would use it again in another birth. DISCUSSION:This project demonstrated successful implementation of a hydrotherapy protocol as an alternative or adjunct to medication for early postpartum pain management that significantly reduced pain and improved the birth experience for those who used it. It offers a nonpharmacologic alternative where there have traditionally been limited options.
Fear-avoidance beliefs: A predictor for postpartum lumbopelvic pain.
Fernando Mia,Nilsson-Wikmar Lena,Olsson Christina B
Physiotherapy research international : the journal for researchers and clinicians in physical therapy
OBJECTIVE:To evaluate potential prognostic factors of self-reported lumbopelvic pain 6 months postpartum for pregnant women with and without lumbopelvic pain. METHODS:Questionnaires were answered at gestational weeks 34-37 and again at 6 months postpartum. Psychosocial determinants and lumbopelvic pain symptoms were investigated using a visual analogue scale to assess pain intensity, and further using the Disability Rating Index, the Nottingham Health Profile, the Pain Catastrophizing Scale and the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis was used to analyse the data. RESULTS:Of the 260 women who answered the questionnaires on both occasions, 186 did not suffer from lumbopelvic pain 6 months after pregnancy. The remaining 74 did. The results of the logistic regression analysis showed that fear-avoidance beliefs was a significant predictor of lumbopelvic pain 6 months postpartum, with an odds ratio of 1.060 (p ≤ .05). CONCLUSION:Women with high fear-avoidance beliefs at 34-37 weeks of gestation had a higher risk of having lumbopelvic pain at 6 months postpartum. We theorize that early lumbopelvic pain intervention postpartum may be important in avoiding chronicity. Women at risk can be identified through clinically relevant questions which may help the clinician to choose appropriate rehabilitation strategies.
Aspirin (single dose) for perineal pain in the early postpartum period.
Shepherd Emily,Grivell Rosalie M
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
BACKGROUND:Perineal trauma, due to spontaneous tears, surgical incision (episiotomy), or in association with operative vaginal birth, is common after vaginal birth, and is often associated with postpartum perineal pain. Birth over an intact perineum may also lead to perineal pain. There are adverse health consequences associated with perineal pain for the women and their babies in the short- and long-term, and the pain may interfere with newborn care and the establishment of breastfeeding. Aspirin has been used in the management of postpartum perineal pain, and its effectiveness and safety should be assessed. This is an update of the review, last published in 2017. OBJECTIVES:To determine the effects of a single dose of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), including at different doses, in the relief of acute postpartum perineal pain. SEARCH METHODS:For this update, we searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth's Trials Register (4 October 2019), ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (4 October 2019) and screened reference lists of retrieved studies. SELECTION CRITERIA:Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), assessing single dose aspirin compared with placebo, no treatment, a different dose of aspirin, or single dose paracetamol or acetaminophen, for women with perineal pain in the early postpartum period. We planned to include cluster-RCTs, but none were identified. We excluded quasi-RCTs and cross-over studies. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of the included RCTs. Data were checked for accuracy. The certainty of the evidence for the main comparison (aspirin versus placebo) was assessed using the GRADE approach. MAIN RESULTS:We included 17 RCTs, 16 of which randomised 1132 women to aspirin or placebo; one RCT did not report numbers of women. Two RCTs (of 16) did not contribute data to meta-analyses. All women had perineal pain post-episiotomy, and were not breastfeeding. Studies were published between 1967 and 1997, and the risk of bias was often unclear, due to poor reporting. We included four comparisons: aspirin versus placebo (15 RCTs); 300 mg versus 600 mg aspirin (1 RCT); 600 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin (2 RCTs); and 300 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin (1 RCT). Aspirin versus placebo Aspirin may result in more women reporting adequate pain relief four to eight hours after administration compared with placebo (risk ratio (RR) 2.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.69 to 2.42; 13 RCTs, 1001 women; low-certainty evidence). It is uncertain whether aspirin compared with placebo has an effect on the need for additional pain relief (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.37; 10 RCTs, 744 women; very low-certainty evidence), or maternal adverse effects (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.57 to 2.06; 14 RCTs, 1067 women; very low-certainty evidence), four to eight hours after administration. Analyses based on dose did not reveal any clear subgroup differences. 300 mg versus 600 mg aspirin It is uncertain whether over four hours after administration, 300 mg compared with 600 mg aspirin has an effect on adequate pain relief (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.36 to 1.86; 1 RCT, 81 women) or the need for additional pain relief (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.12 to 3.88; 1 RCT, 81 women). There were no maternal adverse effects in either aspirin group. 600 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin It is uncertain whether over four to eight hours after administration, 600 mg compared with 1200 mg aspirin has an effect on adequate pain relief (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.39; 2 RCTs, 121 women), the need for additional pain relief (RR 1.32, 95% CI 0.30 to 5.68; 2 RCTs, 121 women), or maternal adverse effects (RR 3.00, 95% CI 0.13 to 69.52; 2 RCTs, 121 women). 300 mg versus 1200 mg aspirin It is uncertain whether over four hours after administration, 300 mg compared with 1200 mg aspirin has an effect on adequate pain relief (RR 0.62, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.32; 1 RCT, 80 women) or need for additional pain relief (RR 2.00, 95% CI 0.19 to 21.18; 1 RCT, 80 women). There were no maternal adverse effects in either aspirin group. None of the included RCTs reported on neonatal adverse effects. No RCTs reported on secondary review outcomes of: prolonged hospitalisation due to perineal pain; re-hospitalisation due to perineal pain; fully breastfeeding at discharge; mixed feeding at discharge; fully breastfeeding at six weeks; mixed feeding at six weeks; perineal pain at six weeks; maternal views; or maternal postpartum depression. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:Single dose aspirin may increase adequate pain relief in women with perineal pain post-episiotomy compared with placebo. It is uncertain whether aspirin has an effect on the need for additional analgesia, or on maternal adverse effects, compared with placebo. We downgraded the certainty of the evidence because of study limitations (risk of bias), imprecision, and publication bias. Aspirin may be considered for use in non-breastfeeding women with post-episiotomy perineal pain. Included RCTs excluded breastfeeding women, so there was no evidence to assess the effects of aspirin on neonatal adverse effects or breastfeeding. Future RCTs should be designed to ensure low risk of bias, and address gaps in the evidence, such as the secondary outcomes established for this review. Current research has focused on women with post-episiotomy pain; future RCTs could be extended to include women with perineal pain associated with spontaneous tears or operative birth.
Oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (single dose) for perineal pain in the early postpartum period.
Wuytack Francesca,Smith Valerie,Cleary Brian J
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews
BACKGROUND:Many women experience perineal pain after childbirth, especially after having sustained perineal trauma. Perineal pain-management strategies are an important part of postnatal care. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a commonly-used type of medication in the management of postpartum pain, and their effectiveness and safety should be assessed. This is an update of a review first published in 2016. OBJECTIVES:To determine the effectiveness of a single dose of an oral NSAID for relief of acute perineal pain in the early postpartum period. SEARCH METHODS:For this update, we searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register, ClinicalTrials.gov, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) (9 December 2019), OpenSIGLE and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (28 February 2020), and reference lists of retrieved studies. SELECTION CRITERIA:Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing a single dose of a NSAID versus a single dose of placebo, paracetamol or another NSAID for women with perineal pain in the early postpartum period. We excluded quasi-RCTs and cross-over trials. We included papers in abstract format only if they had sufficient information to determine that they met the review's prespecified inclusion criteria. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:Two review authors (FW and VS) independently assessed all identified papers for inclusion and risks of bias, resolving any discrepancies through discussion. Two review authors independently conducted data extraction, including calculations of pain relief scores, and checked it for accuracy. We assessed the certainty of the evidence using the GRADE approach. MAIN RESULTS:We included 35 studies examining 16 different NSAIDs and involving 5136 women (none were breastfeeding). Studies were published between 1967 and 2013. Risk of bias due to random sequence generation, allocation concealment and blinding of outcome assessors was generally unclearly to poorly reported, but participants and caregivers were blinded, and outcome data were generally complete. We downgraded the certainty of evidence due to risk of bias, suspected publication bias, and imprecision for small numbers of participants. NSAID versus placebo Compared to women who receive a placebo, more women who receive a single-dose NSAID may achieve adequate pain relief at four hours (risk ratio (RR) 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.64 to 2.23; 10 studies, 1573 women; low-certainty evidence) and at six hours (RR 1.92, 95% CI 1.69 to 2.17; 17 studies, 2079 women; very low-certainty evidence), although we are less certain about the effects at six hours. At four hours after administration, women who receive a NSAID are probably less likely to need additional analgesia compared to women who receive placebo (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.58; 4 studies, 486 women; moderate-certainty evidence) and may be less likely to need additional analgesia at six hours after initial administration, although the evidence was less certain at six hours (RR 0.32, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.40; 10 studies, 1012 women; very low-certainty evidence). One study reported that no adverse events were observed at four hours post-administration (90 women). There may be little or no difference in maternal adverse effects between NSAIDs and placebo at six hours post-administration (RR 1.38, 95% CI 0.71 to 2.70; 13 studies, 1388 women; low-certainty evidence). Fourteen maternal adverse effects were reported in the NSAID group (drowsiness (5), abdominal discomfort (2), weakness (1), dizziness (2), headache (2), moderate epigastralgia (1), not specified (1)) and eight in the placebo group (drowsiness (2), light-headedness (1), nausea (1), backache (1), dizziness (1), epigastric pain (1), not specified (1)), although not all studies assessed adverse effects. Neonatal adverse effects were not assessed in any of the studies. NSAID versus paracetamol NSAIDs may lead to more women achieving adequate pain relief at four hours, compared with paracetamol (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.22; 3 studies, 342 women; low-certainty evidence). We are uncertain if there is any difference in adequate pain relief between NSAIDs and paracetamol at six hours post-administration (RR 1.82, 95% CI 0.61 to 5.47; 2 studies, 99 women; very low-certainty evidence) or in the need for additional analgesia at four hours (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.27 to 1.13; 1 study, 73 women; very low-certainty evidence). NSAIDs may reduce the risk of requiring additional analgesia at six hours compared with paracetamol (RR 0.28, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.67; 1 study, 59 women; low-certainty evidence). One study reported that no maternal adverse effects were observed at four hours post-administration (210 women). Six hours post-administration, we are uncertain if there is any difference between groups in the number of maternal adverse effects (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.27 to 2.08; 3 studies, 300 women; very low-certainty evidence), with one case of pruritis in the NSAID group and one case of sleepiness in the paracetamol group. Neonatal adverse effects were not assessed in any of the included studies. Comparisons of different NSAIDs or doses did not demonstrate any differences in effectiveness for any primary outcome measures; however, few data were available on some NSAIDs. None of the included studies reported on any of this review's secondary outcomes. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:In women who are not breastfeeding and who sustained perineal trauma, NSAIDs (compared to placebo or paracetamol) may provide greater pain relief for acute postpartum perineal pain and fewer women need additional analgesia, but uncertainty remains, as the evidence is rated as low- or very low-certainty. The risk of bias was unclear for many studies, adverse effects were often not assessed and breastfeeding women were not included. While this review provides some indication of the likely effect, there is uncertainty in our conclusions. The main reasons for downgrading were the inclusion of studies at high risk of bias and inconsistency in the findings of individual studies. Future studies could examine NSAIDs' adverse effects, including neonatal effects and the compatibility of NSAIDs with breastfeeding, and could assess other secondary outcomes. Future research could consider women with and without perineal trauma, including perineal tears. High-quality studies could be conducted to further assess the efficacy of NSAIDs versus paracetamol and the efficacy of multimodal treatments.