Simple solution could help mothers avoid c-sections: study

Researchers have found that a simple bicarbonate solution could be enough to help induce labour in women struggling to give birth normally.

Their approach, if confirmed by more extensive research, could provide a cheap and safe way to avoid caesarian sections.

The research was carried out by academics from Britain and Sweden, including Professor Susan Wray of the University of Liverpool.

They started with the finding that the blood of women who failed to progress in labour had far higher levels of acid than that of other women, Professor Wray told Birmingham Eastside.

These were the women who would need emergency caesarian sections, she explained.

“From our lab work at the University of Liverpool, we know that acid is bad for uterine contractions — and you need a lot of contractions in labour to deliver the baby.”

Their theory then was that by neutralising the acid they would correct the uterine environment and the contractions would become stronger — and

That would increase the number of women having sponaneous deliveries rather than c-sections.

‘Really impressive’ results

“We did a small — and I have to emphasise that it was small — randomised control study,” of 200 women, she said.

Women diagnosed as being unable to give birth unaided were randomly given either the standard treatment — a drug called oxytocin— or a fizzy, palatable solution of bicarbonate of soda.

“The results were really impressive. We reduced the number requiring caesarian section by up to 20 percent”

More large-scale studies were needed to test their findings, she said.

If confirmed, however, this simple, low-cost solution could help reduce levels of maternal mortality in the developing world.

The research was carried out by academics at the University of Liverpool, Stockholm — and at the Swedish universities of Stockholm and Upsalla.

It was published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

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