Assessing the association of oxytocin augmentation with obstetric anal sphincter injury in nulliparous women: A population-based, case-control study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective To assess the association of oxytocin augmentation with obstetric anal sphincter injury among nulliparous women. Design Population-based, case–control study. Setting Primary and secondary teaching hospital serving a Norwegian region. Population 15 476 nulliparous women with spontaneous start of labour, single cephalic presentation and gestation ≥37 weeks delivering vaginally between 1999 and 2012. Methods Based on the presence or absence of oxytocin augmentation, episiotomy, operative vaginal delivery and birth weight (<4000 vs ≥4000 g), we modelled in logistic regression the best fit for prediction of anal sphincter injury. Within the modified model of main exposures, we tested for possible confounding, and interactions between maternal age, ethnicity, occiput posterior position and epidural analgaesia. Main outcome measure Obstetric anal sphincter injury. Results Oxytocin augmentation was associated with a higher OR of obstetric anal sphincter injuries in women giving spontaneous birth to infants weighing <4000 g (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.5 to 2.2). Episiotomy was not associated with sphincter injuries in spontaneous births, but with a lower OR in operative vaginal deliveries. Spontaneous delivery of infants weighing ≥4000 g was associated with a threefold higher OR, and epidural analgaesia was associated with a 30% lower OR in comparison to no epidural analgaesia. Conclusions Oxytocin augmentation was associated with a higher OR of obstetric anal sphincter injuries during spontaneous deliveries of normal-size infants. We observed a considerable effect modification between the most important factors predicting anal sphincter injuries in the active second stage of labour.