///2009 Abstract Details
2009 Abstract Details2019-08-03T15:55:31-06:00

Does Maternal Temperature Change During Labor?

Abstract Number: 52
Abstract Type: Original Research

William M Warren M.D.1 ; Alice Esame Student2; Yasser D Sakawi M.D.3; Brian Torgerson M.D.4; Marsha A Wakefield M.D.5; Michael Froelich M.D., M.S.6

Does Maternal Temperature Change During Labor?


In 1999 Lieberman et al (1) reported an association of intrapartum temperature elevation with duration of labor, active management of labor and the use of epidural analgesia in a large retrospective study. To investigate the possible association further, we planned to prospectively evaluate several other potential explanatory factors.


The primary outcome of this study is to examine the change in maternal temperature during labor. Temperature was recorded in 1-hour increments, from admission until delivery. In their previously published reports (Mantha et al. (2), and Goetzl et al (3), showed a standard deviation for temperature change during labor of about 0.6 degrees. Power analysis showed that in order to detect a difference of 0.5 with a 80% power, we needed to enroll 18 women in the study. Secondary outcomes recorded in the study include: labor duration and intensity, oxytocin dose and analgesia as measured indirectly by pain scores. Statistical significance was assessed with paired t-test at the α = .05 significance level.


To this date, we have studied 20 patients. Our data show that there is no statistically significant difference in maternal temperatures when comparing the time of admission to the labor and delivery floor, the placement of the epidural catheter and the time of delivery (repeated measures ANOVA, p=0.427). There was also no correlation of the change in temperature with the duration of labor (F=0.007, p=0.93) (Figure).

Conclusions: We found no evidence to support the notion that temperature of laboring women changes over the course of their delivery. This is still an ongoing study as we plan to increase our ability to detect smaller changes in temperature by increasing our sample size. This will allow us to further investigate any possible individual association of oxytocin dose or duration of labor with temperature change during labor.

Legend to Figure:

Left: Right: regression plot y = Δ temp, x = duration of labor (R2 = 0.0004), no association of temperature change and labor duration can be observed. Right:Temperature by Event: Admission (Tmean=97.72 F), Epidural Placement (Tmean=97.93 F), Delivery (Tmean=97.86 F).


1.) Lieberman et al. American Journal of Public Health 1999;89:506-10.

2.) Mantha et al. IJOA 2008;17:123-9.

3.) Goetzl et al. Obstetrics and Gynecology 2007;109:687-90.

SOAP 2009