Epidural Fever and Its Implications for Mothers and Neonates: Taking the Heat


  • Sarit Shatken CNM, MS,

  • Kaitlyn Greenough CNM, MS,

  • Christina McPherson CNM, MS

Christina McPherson, CNM, MS, 2530 48th Street, Astoria, NY 11103. E-mail: crm1082@yahoo.com


Epidural fever is a maternal temperature elevation seen in women who use epidural analgesia during labor. It occurs in a subset of laboring women after epidural administration and is noninfectious in origin. Epidural fever is not associated with neonatal sepsis, but it often is difficult to distinguish from chorioamnionitis, a condition that can cause neonatal sepsis. Because of this, neonates born to mothers who experience fever during labor are often evaluated for sepsis. Potential solutions to this problem include establishing better methods to distinguish between epidural fever and chorioamnionitis and making alternative methods of pain relief available to laboring women.