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Improving Maternal and Child Safety In China

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Neuraxial labor analgesia or epidural is commonly used in high-income countries as a form of pain relief during labor, and is shown to have physiological benefits for mother and child. In China however this technique was, until recently, very rare – due to patient misconceptions, lack of awareness amongst clinicians, and the lack of compensation for the procedure provided by health insurance. In contrast numbers of caesarean sections are very high in China, and are often performed unnecessarily. As a consequence morbidity and mortality is high. In 2006, Ling Qun Hu, MD, an anesthesiologist at Northwestern University in Chicago founded the organization No Pain Labor & Delivery: A Global Health Initiative in order to build an evidence base around the use of neuraxial labor analgesia in China, as well as to train and educate clinicians in its use.
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