OBJECTIVES To assess prophylactic and curative managements of dural taps occurring during the setting of epidural analgesia (EA) for labour. STUDY DESIGN Nationwide French retrospective survey. PATIENTS AND METHODS From April to July 1997, a questionnaire was sent to 799 French obstetrical units located in both teaching and non-teaching public hospitals and private institutions. RESULTS Answers were obtained from 267 units (response rate of 33%). Although management of dural taps was similar in 52% of the institutions, only 8% had produced a written protocol. After a dural puncture, EA was still performed in 95% of the units, but usually in another interspace (87%). Large oral fluid intake was the most frequent prophylactic measure (81%). To prevent postdural puncture headache (PDPH), bed rest was largely used (76%) and lasted 24 hours in 46% of the institutions. Prophylactic epidural blood patch (EBP) was performed in 14% of the units. To treat PDPH, a majority of anaesthesiologists performed an EBP (92%) and most of them after a delay of 48 hours (62%). Intravenous and oral caffeine was used in 31 and 24% of the units respectively. Prior to EBP, coagulation status was assessed in about 20% of the units and blood culture in less than 3%. In 65% of the units the injection of EBP was discontinued when the patients felt backache. A large range of volumes were injected, but usually less than 20 mL were administered (81%). In 60% of the units the patients were discharged home after an overnight stay in the hospital. If the first EBP failed, a second one was performed in 61% of the cases. CONCLUSION Management of dural taps occurring after EA for pain relief in labour differs widely from one French obstetrical unit to another.