Quantitative and Qualitative Articles
The urgency of the topic connected with epidural analgesia during labor is impossible to overestimate. Scientists, physicians and pregnant women discuss the issue in the scholarly magazines and popular nursing journals. The two articles that were chosen for the current analysis investigate into the connection of epidural analgesia and the rate of caesarean section or instrumental vaginal delivery. There are many points of view concerning the effect of epidurals on labor, and in order to understand the problem thoroughly the following research studies were selected.
The research by Bell, A., White-Traut, R., Wang, E., and Schwertz, D. Maternal and umbilical artery cortisol at birth: relationships with epidural analgesia and newborn alertness (2012) is a qualitative study, because it considers general concepts like behavior of the newborn babies, the psychological state of a woman in labor and the connection between the two concepts. It is problematic to conduct a research based on evidence and numbers concerning such phenomena. Though, the behavioral and psychological details can be included in the context of the study. Bell et al. (2012) introduce the notion of cortisol level in blood of children after birth, and it becomes the precise basis for further investigation. The authors note that the main problem in conducting the research is inability to create control groups, where half of women will receive epidurals, and the other half will go into labor without any painkillers. Epidural analgesia makes a woman calmer; the baby does not receive stress hormones through blood, and thus is more active after birth. On the basis of the aforementioned theory, Bell et al. (2013) conclude that it is not epidural analgesia that increases the rate of caesarean section, but factors connected with mother and fetus, as well as obstetric management. It is possible to say that the method of informational analysis is confirmable and credible. The data presented in the qualitative research is supported by numerous articles on the topic, because the scholars use the results of one experiment to discuss it from various viewpoints.
Early versus late epidural analgesia and risk of instrumental delivery in nulliparous women: a systematic review is an example of quantitative research written by Wassen, M. Zuijlen, J., Roumen, F. J., Smit, L. J., Marcus, M.A., and Nijhuis, J.G. (2011). The article belongs to quantitative researches for a number of reasons. The clearly provided and stated rationale for the project is present in the research. It is based on the series of experiments and features the information from other scholarly studies on the same topic. Wassen et al. (2011) make an attempt to collect all possible statistical information and literature on the issue to create a unified picture of the correlation of C-section and vaginal delivery with the operational intrusion, and the time period a woman is given epidural analgesia. On a contrary to the qualitative research that was mentioned earlier, there is no background information about non-quantifiable concepts like psychological or behavioral patterns of mother and child. The phenomenon researched is identified precisely. The study features information about 15 thousand women, who were given epidurals when the cervix was not more than 4 centimeters in diameter, or in the first part of labor. The experiment was led from 1995 till 2011, and showed that epidural analgesia in the early stage of labor is absolutely harmless for the upcoming birth giving. It is possible to call the statistical method of collection of information reliable and valid. The results are clearly described and presented in a table. All the numbers collected during the longitudinal experiment are relevant to the main idea of the research. It shows that in practice there is no menace of unplanned caesarean section or instrumental vaginal delivery.
Both quantitative and qualitative researches prove from different perspectives that there are no negative consequences of the epidural analgesia. I have chosen the aforementioned articles for the analysis for the reason that the topic is actively discussed in the scholarly circles. The additional reason is the spread of stereotypes among pregnant women (Anim-Somuah, 2011), who think that epidurals cause C-sections, read the articles about “natural birth giving” and continue opposing scientific progress.