Epidural Morphine in Obstetrics
We have injected morphine via a catheter into the epidural space in eight patients in an attempt to relieve the pain of labour. The morphine was supplied in sterile ampoules — 2 mg in 10 ml saline. In six cases the cannula was inserted through a lumbar vertebral interspace, and in two entry was through the space between the 10th and 11th thoracic vertebrae. Two patients received one dose each, four were given two doses and two received three doses of 2 mg morphine (Table 1). Only one of these patients claimed to have experienced some pain relief in response to the morphine, the remainder reported excellent analgesia when bupivacaine was substituted for morphine. Morphine failed to prevent the considerable pain experienced by two patients in the series who had a surgical induction of labour. There was no evidence of maternal drowsiness or of narcotic-induced neonatal depression in this series. One mother vomited copiously.