[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
South Africa¿s health system is based on the primary care model in which low-risk maternity care is provided at community health centres and clinics, and `high-risk¿ care is provided at secondary/tertiary hospitals. This model has the disadvantage of delays in the management of unexpected intrapartum complications in otherwise low-risk pregnancies, therefore, there is a need to re-evaluate the models of birth care in South Africa. To date, two primary care onsite midwife-led birth units (OMBUs) have been established in the Eastern Cape. OMBUs are similar to alongside midwifery units but have been adapted to the South African health system in that they are staffed, administered and funded by the primary care service. They allow women considered to be at `low risk¿ to choose between birth in a community health centre and birth in the OMBU.Methods
The purpose of this audit was to evaluate the impact of establishing an OMBU at Frere Maternity Hospital in East London, South Africa, on maternity services. We conducted an audit of routinely collected data from Frere Maternity Hospital over two 12 month periods, before and after the OMBU opened. Retrospectively retrieved data included the number of births, maternal and perinatal deaths, and mode of delivery.ResultsAfter the OMBU opened at Frere Maternity Hospital, the total number of births on the hospital premises increased by 16%. The total number of births in the hospital obstetric unit (OU) dropped by 9.3%, with 1611 births out of 7375 (22%) occurring in the new OMBU. The number of maternal and perinatal deaths was lower in the post-OMBU period compared with the pre-OMBU period. These improvements cannot be assumed to be the result of the intervention as observational studies are prone to bias.Conclusions
The mortality data should be interpreted with caution as other factors such as change in risk profile may have contributed to the death reductions. However, they suggest that the OMBU model of birth care could help to reduce poor maternal and perinatal outcomes in South Africa. There are many additional advantages for women, hospital staff and primary care staff with this model, which may also be more cost-effective than the standard (freestanding) primary care model.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 12/2014; 14(1):417. · 2.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Caesarean section is a very common surgical procedure worldwide. Suturing the peritoneal layers at caesarean section may or may not confer benefit, hence the need to evaluate whether this step should be omitted or routinely performed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elective labor induction is an increasingly common practice not only in high-income countries, but also in many low-income and middle-income countries. Many questions remain unanswered on the safety and cost-effectiveness of elective labor induction, particularly in resource-constrained settings where there may be a high unmet need for medically indicated inductions, as well as limited or no access to appropriate medications and equipment for induction and monitoring, comprehensive emergency obstetric care, safe and timely cesarean section, and appropriate supervision from health professionals. This article considers the global perspective on the epidemiology, practices, safety, and costs associated with elective labor induction.
Clinical obstetrics and gynecology 06/2014; 57(2):331-342. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Concern about a possible association of hormonal contraception with HIV acquisition has been raised by three types of evidence. Firstly, high-dose progestogen treatment greatly increases HIV acquisition in female non-human primates. Secondly, biological plausibility for a link between hormonal contraception anf HIV acquisition is provided by evidence of a hypo-oestrogenic state induced by progestogen contraception with vaginal mucosal thinning, and evidence of effects on the humoral and cellular immune systems. Thirdly, some but not other large observational studies have found an increase in HIV acquisition among women using hormonal contraception.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Epidemiological data link low dietary calcium with pre-eclampsia. Current recommendations are for 1.5–2 g/day calcium supplementation for low-intake pregnant women, based on randomised controlled trials of ≥1 g/day calcium supplementation from 20 weeks of gestation. This is problematic logistically in low-resource settings; excessive calcium may be harmful; and 20 weeks may be too late to alter outcomes. Objectives
To review the impact of lower dose calcium supplementation on pre-eclampsia risk. Search strategy and selection criteriaWe searched PubMed and the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register. Data collection and analysisTwo authors extracted data from eligible randomised and quasi-randomised trials of low-dose calcium (LDC, <1 g/day), with or without other supplements. Main resultsPre-eclampsia was reduced consistently with LDC with or without co-supplements (nine trials, 2234 women, relative risk [RR] 0.38; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.28–0.52), as well as for subgroups: LDC alone (four trials, 980 women, RR 0.36; 95% CI 0.23–0.57]); LDC plus linoleic acid (two trials, 134 women, RR 0.23; 95% CI 0.09–0.60); LDC plus vitamin D (two trials, 1060 women, RR 0.49; 0.31–0.78) and a trend for LDC plus antioxidants (one trial, 60 women, RR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06–1.01). Overall results were consistent with the single quality trial of LDC alone (171 women, RR 0.30; 95% CI 0.06–1.38). LDC plus antioxidants commencing at 8–12 weeks tended to reduce miscarriage (one trial, 60 women, RR 0.06; 95% CI 0.00–1.04). Conclusions
These limited data are consistent with LDC reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia; confirming this in sufficiently powered randomised controlled trials would have implications for current guidelines and their global implementation.
BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 03/2014; · 3.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is more common for women in both high- and low-income countries giving birth in health facilities, to labour in bed. There is no evidence that this is associated with any advantage for women or babies, although it may be more convenient for staff. Observational studies have suggested that if women lie on their backs during labour this may have adverse effects on uterine contractions and impede progress in labour, and in some women reduce placental blood flow.
To assess the effects of encouraging women to assume different upright positions (including walking, sitting, standing and kneeling) versus recumbent positions (supine, semi-recumbent and lateral) for women in the first stage of labour on duration of labour, type of birth and other important outcomes for mothers and babies.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 January 2013).
Randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing women randomised to upright versus recumbent positions in the first stage of labour.
We used methods described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions for carrying out data collection, assessing study quality and analysing results. Two review authors independently evaluated methodological quality and extracted data for each study. We sought additional information from trial authors as required. We used random-effects analysis for comparisons in which high heterogeneity was present. We reported results using the average risk ratio (RR) for categorical data and mean difference (MD) for continuous data.
Results should be interpreted with caution as the methodological quality of the 25 included trials (5218 women) was variable.For Comparison 1: Upright and recumbent positions versus recumbent positions and bed care, the first stage of labour was approximately one hour and 22 minutes shorter for women randomised to upright as opposed to recumbent positions (average MD -1.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) -2.22 to -0.51; 15 studies, 2503 women; random-effects, T(2) = 2.39, Chi(2) = 203.55, df = 14, (P < 0.00001), I(2) = 93%). Women who were upright were also less likely to have caesarean section (RR 0.71, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.94; 14 studies, 2682 women) and less likely to have an epidural (RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.99, nine studies, 2107 women; random-effects, T(2) = 0.02, I(2) = 61%). Babies of mothers who were upright were less likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, however this was based on one trial (RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.89, one study, 200 women). There were no significant differences between groups for other outcomes including duration of the second stage of labour, or other outcomes related to the well being of mothers and babies.For Comparison 2: Upright and recumbent positions versus recumbent positions and bed care (with epidural: all women), there were no significant differences between groups for outcomes including duration of the second stage of labour, or other outcomes related to the well being of mothers and babies.
There is clear and important evidence that walking and upright positions in the first stage of labour reduces the duration of labour, the risk of caesarean birth, the need for epidural, and does not seem to be associated with increased intervention or negative effects on mothers' and babies' well being. Given the great heterogeneity and high performance bias of study situations, better quality trials are still required to confirm with any confidence the true risks and benefits of upright and mobile positions compared with recumbent positions for all women. Based on the current findings, we recommend that women in low-risk labour should be informed of the benefits of upright positions, and encouraged and assisted to assume whatever positions they choose.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The primary objective of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) prevention and treatment is to reduce maternal deaths. Misoprostol has the major public health advantage over injectable medication that it can more easily be distributed at community level. Because misoprostol might have adverse effects unrelated to blood loss which might impact on mortality or severe morbidity, it is important to continue surveillance of all relevant evidence from randomised trials. This is particularly important as misoprostol is being introduced on a large scale for PPH prevention in low-income countries, and is commonly used for PPH treatment in well-resourced settings as well.
To review maternal deaths and severe morbidity in all randomised trials of misoprostol for prevention or treatment of PPH.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (11 January 2013).
We included randomised trials including pregnant women who received misoprostol in the postpartum period, versus placebo/no treatment or other uterotonics for prevention or treatment of PPH, and reporting on maternal death, severe morbidity or pyrexia.We planned to include cluster- and quasi-randomised trials in the analysis, as a very large number of women will be needed to obtain robust estimates of maternal mortality but we did not identify any for this version of the review. In future updates of this review we will include trials reported only as abstracts if sufficient information is available from the abstract or from the authors.
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and extracted data.
We included 78 studies (59,216 women) and excluded 34 studies.There was no statistically significant difference in maternal mortality for misoprostol compared with control groups overall (31 studies; 11/19,715 versus 4/20,076 deaths; risk ratio (RR) 2.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82 to 5.28); or for the trials of misoprostol versus placebo: 10 studies, 6/4626 versus 1/4707 ; RR 2.70; 95% CI 0.72 to 10.11; or for misoprostol versus other uterotonics: 21 studies, 5/15,089 versus 3/15,369 (19/100,000); RR 1.54; 95% CI 0.40 to 5.92. All 11 deaths in the misoprostol arms occurred in studies of misoprostol ≥ 600 µg.There was a statistically significant difference in the composite outcome 'maternal death or severe morbidity' for the comparison of misoprostol versus placebo (12 studies; average RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.81; Tau² = 0.00, I² = 0%) but not for the comparison of misoprostol versus other uterotonics (17 studies; average RR 1.50, 95% CI 0.50 to 4.52; Tau² = 1.81, I² = 69%). When we excluded hyperpyrexia from the composite outcome in exploratory analyses, there was no significant difference in either of these comparisons.Pyrexia > 38°C was increased with misoprostol compared with controls (56 studies, 2776/25,647 (10.8%) versus 614/26,800 (2.3%); average RR 3.97, 95% CI 3.13 to 5.04; Tau² = 0.47, I² = 80%). The effect was greater for trials using misoprostol 600 µg or more (27 studies; 2197/17,864 (12.3%) versus 422/18,161 (2.3%); average RR 4.64; 95% CI 3.33 to 6.46; Tau² = 0.51, I² = 86%) than for those using misoprostol 400 µg or less (31 studies; 525/6751 (7.8%) versus 185/7668 (2.4%); average RR 3.07; 95% CI 2.25 to 4.18; Tau² = 0.29, I² = 58%).
Misoprostol does not appear to increase or reduce severe morbidity (excluding hyperpyrexia) when used to prevent or treat PPH. Misoprostol did not increase or decrease maternal mortality. However, misoprostol is associated with an increased risk of pyrexia, particularly in dosages of 600 µg or more. Given that misoprostol is used prophylactically in very large numbers of healthy women, the greatest emphasis should be placed on limiting adverse effects. In this context, the findings of this review support the use of the lowest effective dose. As for any new medication being used on a large scale, continued vigilance for adverse effects is essential and there is a need for large randomised trials to further elucidate both the relative effectiveness and the risks of various dosages of misoprostol.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The practice and timing of routine antenatal visits for healthy pregnant women, introduced arbitrarily and without evidence of effectiveness, have become entrenched in obstetric practice over the last century. In 2001the large, cluster randomized WHO Antenatal Care Trial concluded that a goal-orientated package of antenatal care with reduced visits seemed not to affect maternal and perinatal outcomes. The reduced visit package has been implemented in several countries. The current re-analysis finds that the significantly increased perinatal mortality which occurred in the reduced visit package persists after adjustment for potential confounding factors. The WHO Antenatal Care Trial provided the first evidence from a randomized trial that the traditional high frequency of routine visits in the third trimester may well reduce perinatal mortality.
Reproductive Health 04/2013; 10(1):20. · 1.62 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
During caesarean section mothers can be in different positions. Theatre tables could be tilted laterally, upwards, downwards or flexed and wedges or cushions could be used. There is no consensus on the best positioning at present.
We assessed all available data on positioning of the mother to determine if there is an ideal position during caesarean section that would improve outcomes.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (20 August 2012), PubMed (1966 to 20 August 2012) and manually searched the references of retrieved articles.
Randomised trials of woman undergoing caesarean section comparing different positions.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors assessed eligibility, trial quality and extracted data.
We identified 22 studies with a total of 857 women included. We included 11 studies and excluded 11. Included trials were of variably quality with small sample sizes. Most comparisons had data from single trials. This is a shortcoming and applicability of results is limited.
The incidence of air embolism was not affected by head up versus horizontal position (average risk ratio (RR) 0.85; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28 to 2.57; Tau² = 0.50; I² = 74%).
We found no change in hypotensive episodes when comparing left lateral tilt (RR 0.11; 95% CI 0.01 to 1.94), right lateral tilt (RR 1.25; 95% CI 0.39 to 3.99), a right lumbar pelvic wedge (RR 0.85; CI 0.53 to1.37) and head down tilt (RR 1.07; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.42) with horizontal positions. We found no change in hypotensive episodes when comparing full lateral tilt with 15-degree tilt (RR 1.20; 95% CI 0.80 to 1.79). Hypotensive episodes were decreased with manual displacers (RR 0.11; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.45), and increased with a right lumbar wedge compared with a right pelvic wedge (RR 1.64; 95% CI 1.07 to 2.53) and increased with a right lateral tilt compared with a left lateral tilt (RR 3.30; 95% CI 1.20 to 9.08).
Position did not affect systolic blood pressure when comparing left lateral tilt (MD 2.70; 95% CI -1.47 to 6.87) or head down tilt (MD -3.00; 95% CI -8.38 to 2.38) with horizontal positions, or full lateral tilt with 15-degree tilt (MD -5.00; 95% CI -11.45 to 1.45). Manual displacers showed decreased fall in mean systolic blood pressure compared with left lateral tilt (MD -8.80; 95% CI -13.08 to -4.52).
Position did not affect diastolic blood pressures when comparing left lateral tilt versus horizontal positions (MD-1.90; 95% CI -5.28 to 1.48). The mean diastolic pressure was lower in head down tilt (MD -7.00; 95% CI -12.05 to -1.95) when compared with horizontal positions.
There were no statistically significant changes in maternal pulse rate, five-minute Apgars, maternal blood pH or cord blood pH when comparing different positions.
There is limited evidence to support or clearly disprove the value of the use of tilting or flexing the table, the use of wedges and cushions or the use of mechanical displacers. A left lateral tilt may be better than a right lateral tilt and manual displacers may be better than a left lateral tilt but larger studies with more robust data are needed to confirm these findings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Caesarean section is the commonest major operation performed on women worldwide. Operative techniques, including abdominal incisions, vary. Some of these techniques have been evaluated through randomised trials. OBJECTIVES: To determine the benefits and risks of alternative methods of abdominal surgical incisions for caesarean section. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (28 February 2013). SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials of intention to perform caesarean section using different abdominal incisions. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We extracted data from the sources, checked them for accuracy and analysed the data. MAIN RESULTS: Four studies (666 women) were included in this review.Two studies (411 women) compared the Joel-Cohen incision with the Pfannenstiel incision. Overall, there was a 65% reduction in reported postoperative febrile morbidity (risk ratio (RR) 0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14 to 0.87) with the Joel-Cohen incision. One of the trials reported reduced postoperative analgesic requirements (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.76); operating time (mean difference (MD) -11.40, 95% CI -16.55 to -6.25 minutes); delivery time (MD -1.90, 95% CI -2.53 to -1.27 minutes); total dose of analgesia in the first 24 hours (MD -0.89, 95% CI -1.19 to -0.59); estimated blood loss (MD -58.00, 95% CI -108.51 to -7.49 mL); postoperative hospital stay for the mother (MD -1.50, 95% CI -2.16 to -0.84 days); and increased time to the first dose of analgesia (MD 0.80, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.48 hours) compared with the Pfannenstiel group. No other significant differences were found in either trial.Two studies compared muscle cutting incisions with Pfannenstiel incision. One study (68 women) comparing Mouchel incision with Pfannenstiel incision did not contribute data to this review. The other study (97 women) comparing the Maylard muscle-cutting incision with the Pfannenstiel incision, reported no difference in febrile morbidity (RR 1.26, 95% CI 0.08 to 19.50); need for blood transfusion (RR 0.42, 95% CI 0.02 to 9.98); wound infection (RR 1.26, 95% CI 0.27 to 5.91); physical tests on muscle strength at three months postoperative and postoperative hospital stay (MD 0.40 days, 95% CI -0.34 to 1.14). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The Joel-Cohen incision has advantages compared with the Pfannenstiel incision. These are: less fever, pain and analgesic requirements; less blood loss; shorter duration of surgery and hospital stay. These advantages for the mother could be extrapolated to savings for the health system. However, these trials do not provide information on severe or long-term morbidity and mortality.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, in particular preeclampsia, matter because adverse events occur in women with preeclampsia and, to a lesser extent, in women with the other hypertensive disorders. These adverse events are maternal, perinatal, and neonatal and can alter the life trajectory of each individual, should that life not be ended by complications. In this review we discuss a number of priorities and dilemmas that we perceive to be facing health services in low and middle income countries as they try to prioritize interventions to reduce the health burden related to preeclampsia. These priorities and dilemmas relate to calcium for preeclampsia prevention, risk stratification, antihypertensive and magnesium sulphate therapy, and mobile health. Significant progress has been and is being made to reduce the impact of preeclampsia in low and middle income countries, but it remains a priority focus as we attempt to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5.
Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology Canada: JOGC = Journal d'obstetrique et gynecologie du Canada: JOGC 10/2012; 34(10):917-26.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP; pre-existing hypertension, gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia) remain important causes of maternal morbidity and mortality, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The paper summarizes the current state of evidence around possible technologies to support community-based improvements in maternal and perinatal outcomes for women with pre-eclampsia. Through the testing and, where proven, introduction of these technologies, we believe that HDP-related progress toward achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 can best be accelerated. The evidence and discussion are presented under the following headings: (1) prediction; (2) prevention; (3) diagnosis; (4) risk stratification; (5) decision aids; (6) treatment; (7) geographic information systems; (8) communication; and (9) community and patient education.
International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 08/2012; · 1.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For centuries, there has been controversy around whether being upright (sitting, birthing stools, chairs, squatting, kneeling) or lying down have advantages for women delivering their babies.
To assess the benefits and risks of the use of different positions during the second stage of labour (i.e. from full dilatation of the uterine cervix).
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register (28 February 2012).
Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of any upright or lateral position assumed by pregnant women during the second stage of labour compared with supine or lithotomy positions. Secondary comparisons include comparison of different upright positions and the lateral position.
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion and assessed trial quality. At least two review authors extracted the data. Data were checked for accuracy.
Results should be interpreted with caution as the methodological quality of the 22 included trials (7280 women) was variable.In all women studied (primigravid and multigravid) there was a non-significant reduction in duration of second stage in the upright group (mean difference (MD) -3.71 minutes; 95% confidence interval (CI) -8.78 to 1.37 minutes; 10 trials, 3485 women; random-effects, I(2) = 94%), a significant reduction in assisted deliveries (risk ratio (RR) 0.78; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.90; 19 trials, 6024 women, I(2)= 27%), a reduction in episiotomies (average RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.70 to 0.90, 12 trials, 4541 women; random-effects, I(2) = 7%), an increase in second degree perineal tears (RR 1.35; 95% CI 1.20 to 1.51, 14 trials, 5367 women), increased estimated blood loss greater than 500 ml (RR 1.65; 95% CI 1.32 to 2.60; 13 trials, 5158 women, asymmetric funnel plot indicating publication bias), fewer abnormal fetal heart rate patterns (RR 0.46; 95% CI 0.22 to 0.93; two trials, 617 women). In primigravid women the use of any upright compared with supine positions was associated with: non-significant reduction in duration of second stage of labour (nine trials: mean 3.24 minutes, 95% CI 1.53 to 4.95 minutes) - this reduction was largely due to women allocated to the use of the birth cushion.
The findings of this review suggest several possible benefits for upright posture in women without epidural, but with the possibility of increased risk of blood loss greater than 500 mL. Until such time as the benefits and risks of various delivery positions are estimated with greater certainty, when methodologically stringent data from trials are available, women should be allowed to make choices about the birth positions in which they might wish to assume for birth of their babies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Piracetam is thought to promote the metabolism of brain cells when they are hypoxic. It has been used to prevent adverse effects of fetal distress.
The objective of this review was to assess the effects of piracetam for suspected fetal distress in labour on method of delivery and perinatal morbidity.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (15 February 2012).
Randomised trials of piracetam compared with placebo or no treatment for suspected fetal distress in labour.
Both review authors assessed eligibility and trial quality.
One study of 96 women was included. Piracetam compared with placebo was associated with a trend to reduced need for caesarean section (risk ratio 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.32 to 1.03). There were no statistically significant differences between the piracetam and placebo group for neonatal morbidity (measured by neonatal respiratory distress) or Apgar score.
There is not enough evidence to evaluate the use of piracetam for fetal distress in labour.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Suspected fetal distress usually results in expedited delivery of a baby (often operatively). The potential harm to a mother and baby from operative delivery may not always be justified especially when fetal distress may be misdiagnosed. Even with a correct diagnosis it is not clear whether an operative or conservative approach is better.
The objective of this review was to assess the effects of operative management for fetal distress on maternal and perinatal morbidity.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (15 February 2012).
Randomised trials of operative (caesarean section or expedited vaginal delivery) versus conservative management of suspected fetal distress.
Trial quality assessment and data extraction were done by both review authors.
One study of 350 women was included. This trial was carried out in 1959. There was no difference in perinatal mortality (risk ratio 1.18, 95% confidence interval 0.56 to 2.48).
There have been no contemporary trials of operative versus conservative management of suspected fetal distress. In settings without modern obstetric facilities, a policy of operative delivery in the event of meconium-stained liquor or fetal heart rate changes has not been shown to reduce perinatal mortality.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amnioinfusion aims to prevent or relieve umbilical cord compression during labour by infusing a solution into the uterine cavity.
To assess the effects of amnioinfusion for potential or suspected umbilical cord compression on maternal and perinatal outcome .
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 October 2011).
Randomised trials of amnioinfusion compared with no amnioinfusion in women with babies at risk of umbilical cord compression in labour.
The original review had one author only (Justus Hofmeyr (GJH)). For this update, two authors (GJH and T Lawrie) assessed 13 additional trial reports for eligibility and quality. We extracted data and checked for accuracy.
We have included 19 studies, with all but two studies having fewer than 200 participants. Transcervical amnioinfusion for potential or suspected umbilical cord compression was associated with the following reductions: caesarean section overall (13 trials, 1493 participants; average risk ratio (RR) 0.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46 to 0.83); fetal heart rate (FHR) decelerations (seven trials, 1006 participants; average RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.74); Apgar score less than seven at five minutes (12 trials, 1804 participants; average RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.72); meconium below the vocal cords (three trials, 674 participants, RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.92); postpartum endometritis (six trials, 767 participants; RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.81) and maternal hospital stay greater than three days (four trials, 1051 participants; average RR 0.45, 95% CI 0.25 to 0.78). Transabdominal amnioinfusion showed similar trends, though numbers studied were small.Mean cord umbilical artery pH was higher in the amnioinfusion group (seven trials, 855 participants; average mean difference 0.03, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.06) and there was a trend toward fewer neonates with a low cord arterial pH (less than 7.2 or as defined by trial authors) in the amnioinfusion group (eight trials, 972 participants, average RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.29 to 1.14).
The use of amnioinfusion for potential or suspected umbilical cord compression may be of considerable benefit to mother and baby by reducing the occurrence of variable FHR decelerations, improving short-term measures of neonatal outcome, reducing maternal postpartum endometritis and lowering the use of caesarean section, although there were methodological limitations to the trials reviewed here. In addition, the trials are too small to address the possibility of rare but serious maternal adverse effects of amnioinfusion. More research is needed to confirm the findings, assess longer-term measures of fetal outcome, and to assess the impact on caesarean section rates when the diagnosis of fetal distress is more stringent. Trials should assess amnioinfusion in specific clinical situations, such as FHR decelerations, oligohydramnios or prelabour rupture of membranes.