Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 2.35.09 PMGreat news for expecting mothers: you no longer have to play the waiting game during labor.

In a new study conducted by researchers at Singapore’s KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital it was discovered women can receive an epidural, the most popular anesthesia used for pain relief during labor, at any stage of childbirth.

The study, which was conducted by Dr. Ban Leong Sng, deputy head of the department of women’s anesthesia at KK Women and Children’s Hospital in Singapore, consisted of clinical trials that randomly assigned roughly 16,000 women to receive epidurals during early or later stages of labor.

The report discovered there were no differences between the two groups in the need for cesarean sections or other high-risk complications. In addition, there was no difference in how long the final stage of labor lasted between the two groups. Prior to this discovery, it was believed injecting an epidural too soon or too late might prolong delivery, lead to a C-section or other health scares.

Researchers wrote, “We conclude that it would appear to be advantageous to initiate epidural analgesia for labor early, when requested by the woman.”

In an interview with TODAY.com Sng noted he was not surprised by the results.

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