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1.  CORONIS - International study of caesarean section surgical techniques: the follow-up study 
The CORONIS Trial was a 2×2×2×2×2 non-regular, fractional, factorial trial of five pairs of alternative caesarean section surgical techniques on a range of short-term outcomes, the primary outcome being a composite of maternal death or infectious morbidity. The consequences of different surgical techniques on longer term outcomes have not been well assessed in previous studies. Such outcomes include those related to subsequent pregnancy: mode of delivery; abnormal placentation (e.g. accreta); postpartum hysterectomy, as well as longer term pelvic problems: pain, urinary problems, infertility. The Coronis Follow-up Study aims to measure and compare the incidence of these outcomes between the randomised groups at around three years after women participated in the CORONIS Trial.
This study will assess the following null hypotheses: In women who underwent delivery by caesarean section, no differences will be detected with respect to a range of long-term outcomes when comparing the following five pairs of alternative surgical techniques evaluated in the CORONIS Trial:
1. Blunt versus sharp abdominal entry
2. Exteriorisation of the uterus for repair versus intra-abdominal repair
3. Single versus double layer closure of the uterus
4. Closure versus non-closure of the peritoneum (pelvic and parietal)
5. Chromic catgut versus Polyglactin-910 for uterine repair
The outcomes will include (1) women’s health: pelvic pain; dysmenorrhoea; deep dyspareunia; urinary symptoms; laparoscopy; hysterectomy; tubal/ovarian surgery; abdominal hernias; bowel obstruction; infertility; death. (2) Outcomes of subsequent pregnancies: inter-pregnancy interval; pregnancy outcome; gestation at delivery; mode of delivery; pregnancy complications; surgery during or following delivery.
The results of this follow-up study will have importance for all pregnant women and for health professionals who provide care for pregnant women. Although the results will have been collected in seven countries with limited health care resources (Argentina, Chile, Ghana, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Sudan) any differences in outcomes associated with different surgical techniques are likely to be generalisable throughout the world.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC4222281  PMID: 24261693
2.  Planned Vaginal Birth or Elective Repeat Caesarean: Patient Preference Restricted Cohort with Nested Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001192.
A study conducted in Australia provides new data on the outcomes for mother and baby associated with either planned vaginal birth, or elective repeat caesarean section following a previous caesarean section.
Uncertainty exists about benefits and harms of a planned vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) compared with elective repeat caesarean (ERC). We conducted a prospective restricted cohort study consisting of a patient preference cohort study, and a small nested randomised trial to compare benefits and risks of a planned ERC with planned VBAC.
Methods and findings
2,345 women with one prior caesarean, eligible for VBAC at term, were recruited from 14 Australian maternity hospitals. Women were assigned by patient preference (n = 2,323) or randomisation (n = 22) to planned VBAC (1,225 patient preference, 12 randomised) or planned ERC (1,098 patient preference, ten randomised). The primary outcome was risk of fetal death or death of liveborn infant before discharge or serious infant outcome. Data were analysed for the 2,345 women (100%) and infants enrolled.
The risk of fetal death or liveborn infant death prior to discharge or serious infant outcome was significantly lower for infants born in the planned ERC group compared with infants in the planned VBAC group (0.9% versus 2.4%; relative risk [RR] 0.39; 95% CI 0.19–0.80; number needed to treat to benefit 66; 95% CI 40–200). Fewer women in the planned ERC group compared with women in the planned VBAC had a major haemorrhage (blood loss ≥1,500 ml and/or blood transfusion), (0.8% [9/1,108] versus 2.3% [29/1,237]; RR 0.37; 95% CI 0.17–0.80).
Among women with one prior caesarean, planned ERC compared with planned VBAC was associated with a lower risk of fetal and infant death or serious infant outcome. The risk of major maternal haemorrhage was reduced with no increase in maternal or perinatal complications to time of hospital discharge. Women, clinicians, and policy makers can use this information to develop health advice and make decisions about care for women who have had a previous caesarean.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN53974531
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Rates of caesarean section are rising around the world, particularly in high- and middle-income countries, where most women have a choice of how their baby is delivered. Historically, the obstetrician in charge of the woman's care made the decision on whether to perform an elective (planned) caesarean section based on medical criteria. For women who have had a previous caesarean section, typically, their options for mode of childbirth are either a trial of vaginal birth or an elective repeat caesarean section. The proportion of women attempting a vaginal birth after a previous caesarean section has been declining in many countries partly due to the variable chance of achieving a successful vaginal birth (reported between 56% and 80%) and partly because of negative reports of the risk of complications, both to the mother and the baby, of a having a vaginal delivery following a caesarean section. Consequently, the rates of repeat caesarean section have risen sharply, for example, currently 83% in Australia and almost 90% in the US.
Why Was This Study Done?
Both elective repeat caesarean section and subsequent vaginal delivery after a previous caesarean section have clinical risks and benefits. Most obviously, having a surgical procedure puts the woman having the repeat caesarean section at risk of surgical complications, especially if performed under a general anesthetic, and her baby may be at risk of respiratory complications. However, subsequent vaginal delivery following a previous caesarean section may put the mother at risk of bleeding severely enough to need a blood transfusion (more than 1,500 ml blood loss) and she may also be at increased risk of rupturing her uterus; and her baby may have an increased risk of dying or of becoming brain damaged due to lack of oxygen.
However, to date there have been no randomized controlled trials of elective repeat caesarean section versus vaginal delivery following a previous caesarean section to compare the health outcomes of mother and baby and a recent systematic review could draw no conclusions. So the researchers conducted this prospective cohort study based on patient preference (with a few women agreeing to be randomized to mode of delivery), to compare the health outcomes for mother and baby for elective repeat caesarean section versus vaginal delivery in women following a previous caesarean section.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Between 2002 and 2007, the researchers recruited 2,345 suitable women (that is, women who had one previous caesarean section, were currently 37 weeks pregnant with a single baby, and who were clinically able to have a vaginal delivery) from 14 maternity hospitals throughout Australia. A few women (22) agreed to be randomized to either mode of delivery but most women chose her preferred option. Then, depending on the woman's preferences for mode of birth, participating obstetricians either scheduled a date for an elective caesarean section (1,098 women) or assessed on-going suitability for the woman to have a planned vaginal delivery (1,225 women). However only 535 (43.2%) women who chose to have a vaginal birth were able to deliver this way because of failure to progress in labor or fetal distress: 334 of these women (27.0%) had to have an elective caesarean section and 368 women had to have an emergency caesarean section.
Although no women died, women who had a planned caesarean section experienced less severe bleeding than women who delivered vaginally. There were no infant deaths in those born by elective caesarean section but two unexplained stillbirths in the planned vaginal delivery group. There was also a reduced risk of nonfatal serious outcome before discharge from hospital for infants delivered by in the elective caesarean section. The researchers calculated that one infant death or near death would be prevented for every 66 elective caesarean sections performed in women who had a previous caesarean section.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in women who had delivered by a previous caesarean section delivering their next baby by planned caesarean section was associated with less infant death and better health outcomes for the mother before she was discharged from the hospital compared to women who had a subsequent vaginal delivery. This information can be used by women, clinicians, and policy makers in helping to make decisions about the mode of subsequent deliveries and best care for women who have had a previous caesarean section.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is linked to a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Fitzpatrick and colleagues and a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Catherine Spong
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has information sheets for patients on caesarean sections and on vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
Childbirth Connection, a US-based not-for-profit organization, provides information about caesarean sections and about vaginal birth after caesarean
The National Childbirth Trust, a UK charity, provides information for parents on all aspects of pregnancy and birth, including caesarean sections and vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The UK charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories from women making decisions about birth after a caesarean section
PMCID: PMC3302845  PMID: 22427749
3.  Uterine Rupture by Intended Mode of Delivery in the UK: A National Case-Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(3):e1001184.
A case-control study using UK data estimates the risk of uterine rupture in subsequent deliveries amongst women who have had a previous caesarean section.
Recent reports of the risk of morbidity due to uterine rupture are thought to have contributed in some countries to a decrease in the number of women attempting a vaginal birth after caesarean section. The aims of this study were to estimate the incidence of true uterine rupture in the UK and to investigate and quantify the associated risk factors and outcomes, on the basis of intended mode of delivery.
Methods and Findings
A UK national case-control study was undertaken between April 2009 and April 2010. The participants comprised 159 women with uterine rupture and 448 control women with a previous caesarean delivery. The estimated incidence of uterine rupture was 0.2 per 1,000 maternities overall; 2.1 and 0.3 per 1,000 maternities in women with a previous caesarean delivery planning vaginal or elective caesarean delivery, respectively. Amongst women with a previous caesarean delivery, odds of rupture were also increased in women who had ≥ two previous caesarean deliveries (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.02, 95% CI 1.16–7.85) and <12 months since their last caesarean delivery (aOR 3.12, 95% CI 1.62–6.02). A higher risk of rupture with labour induction and oxytocin use was apparent (aOR 3.92, 95% CI 1.00–15.33). Two women with uterine rupture died (case fatality 1.3%, 95% CI 0.2–4.5%). There were 18 perinatal deaths associated with uterine rupture among 145 infants (perinatal mortality 124 per 1,000 total births, 95% CI 75–189).
Although uterine rupture is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, even amongst women with a previous caesarean section planning a vaginal delivery, it is a rare occurrence. For women with a previous caesarean section, risk of uterine rupture increases with number of previous caesarean deliveries, a short interval since the last caesarean section, and labour induction and/or augmentation. These factors should be considered when counselling and managing the labour of women with a previous caesarean section.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Uterine rupture is a serious complication of pregnancy in which the wall of the uterus (womb) tears during pregnancy or early labor. Signs and symptoms of uterine rupture include fetal heart rate abnormalities, abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding. If uterine rupture happens during labor, the woman must have an immediate caesarean section (surgical delivery of her baby) to save both her life and that of her baby. The woman's womb and nearby organs can be damaged at rupture or removed during surgery and she may need a blood transfusion because of severe bleeding. Moreover, her baby may develop respiratory distress syndrome and other life-threatening complications. In high income countries, uterine rupture most commonly occurs in women who have delivered a previous pregnancy by caesarean section. In a caesarean section, the baby is delivered through a cut made through the abdominal wall and the uterine wall. The stretching that occurs during pregnancy or the strong contractions of labor can tear the scar left by this cut, resulting in uterine rupture.
Why Was This Study Done?
Women who have had a caesarean delivery are generally encouraged to try to deliver subsequent babies vaginally. However, recent reports of an increased risk of complications (morbidity) and death (mortality) due to uterine rupture are thought to reduce women's willingness to attempt vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) in some countries. In the UK, for example, where one in four babies is delivered by caesarean section, a previous caesarean delivery is one of commonest reasons for a repeat section. Obstetricians (doctors who care for women during child birth) need to know as much as possible about the incidence of uterine rupture and about the risk factors for it so that they can advise women who have had a previous caesarean section about their delivery options. In this national case-control study (a study that compares the characteristics of people with and without a specific condition), the researchers estimate the incidence of uterine rupture in the UK by intended mode of delivery and investigate and quantify the risk factors for and outcomes of uterine rupture.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) to identify all the women in the UK who had a uterine rupture over a 13-month period (159 women, 139 of whom had had a previous caesarean delivery). Controls for the study were women who had not had a uterine rupture but who had previously delivered by caesarean section. Overall, the incidence of uterine rupture was 0.2 per 1,000 maternities. In women with a previous caesarean delivery, 2.1 and 0.3 per 1,000 maternities ended in uterine rupture in women planning vaginal delivery and caesarean delivery, respectively. Amongst women who had had a previous caesarean delivery, the risk of uterine rupture was greater among those who had had two or more previous caesarean deliveries or a caesarean delivery less than 12 months previously, or whose labor was induced. Two women died following uterine rupture (a case fatality of 1.3%) and 18 babies died around the time of birth (a perinatal mortality rate of 124 per 1,000 live births; the UK perinatal mortality rate is 7.5 per 1,000 live births). 15 of the women who had a uterine rupture had their womb removed, 10 had other organs damaged, and nearly half had other complications; 19 of the surviving babies had health problems.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in the UK, although uterine rupture is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, it is a rare occurrence even among women who have had a previous caesarean delivery and are planning a vaginal delivery. They also indicate that, for women who have previously had a caesarean section, the risk of rupture increases with the number of previous caesarean deliveries, with a short interval since the last caesarean section, and with labor induction. Although the researchers may not have identified all the women who had a uterine rupture during the study period or may have identified only the worst cases, these findings provide valuable information about the factors that obstetricians need to consider when advising women who have previously had a caesarean section and when managing their labor.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is linked to a PLoS Medicine Research Article by Caroline Crowther and a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Catherine Spong
Wikipedia has a page on uterine rupture (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has information sheets for patients on caesarean sections and on vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK has information for women on birth after previous caesarean
Childbirth Connection, a US-based not-for-profit organization, provides information about caesarean sections and about vaginal birth after caesarean
The National Childbirth Trust, a UK charity, provides information for parents on all aspects of pregnancy and birth, including caesarean sections and vaginal birth after caesarean delivery
The UK charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories from women making decisions about birth after a caesarean section
A personal story of uterine rupture during an attempted VBAC is available
The UK Obstetric Surveillance System studies rare disorders of pregnancy in the UK
PMCID: PMC3302846  PMID: 22427745
4.  Recovery after caesarean birth: a qualitative study of women's accounts in Victoria, Australia 
The caesarean section rate is increasing globally, especially in high income countries. The reasons for this continue to create wide debate. There is good epidemiological evidence on the maternal morbidity associated with caesarean section. Few studies have used women's personal accounts of their experiences of recovery after caesarean. The aim of this paper is to describe women's accounts of recovery after caesarean birth, from shortly after hospital discharge to between five months and seven years after surgery.
Women who had at least one caesarean birth in a tertiary hospital in Victoria, Australia, participated in an interview study. Women were selected to ensure diversity in experiences (type of caesarean, recency), caesarean and vaginal birth, and maternal request caesarean section. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. A theoretical framework was developed (three Zones of clinical practice) and thematic analysis informed the findings.
Thirty-two women were interviewed who between them had 68 births; seven women had experienced both caesarean and vaginal births. Three zones of clinical practice were identified in women's descriptions of the reasons for their first caesareans. Twelve women described how, at the time of their first caesarean section, the operation was performed for potentially life-saving reasons (Central Zone), 11 described situations of clinical uncertainty (Grey Zone), and nine stated they actively sought surgical intervention (Peripheral Zone).
Thirty of the 32 women described difficulties following the postoperative advice they received prior to hospital discharge and their physical recovery after caesarean was hindered by a range of health issues, including pain and reduced mobility, abdominal wound problems, infection, vaginal bleeding and urinary incontinence. These problems were experienced across the three zones of clinical practice, regardless of the reasons women gave for their caesarean.
The women in this study reported a range of unanticipated and unwanted negative physical health outcomes following caesarean birth. This qualitative study adds to the existing epidemiological evidence of significant maternal morbidity after caesarean section and underlines the need for caesarean section to be reserved for circumstances where the benefit is known to outweigh the harms.
PMCID: PMC2939528  PMID: 20718966
5.  Caesarean section for non-medical reasons at term 
Caesarean section rates are progressively rising in many parts of the world. One suggested reason is increasing requests by women for caesarean section in the absence of clear medical indications, such as placenta praevia, HIV infection, contracted pelvis and, arguably, breech presentation or previous caesarean section. The reported benefits of planned caesarean section include greater safety for the baby, less pelvic floor trauma for the mother, avoidance of labour pain and convenience. The potential disadvantages, from observational studies, include increased risk of major morbidity or mortality for the mother, adverse psychological sequelae, and problems in subsequent pregnancies, including uterine scar rupture and a greater risk of stillbirth and neonatal morbidity. The differences in neonatal physiology following vaginal and caesarean births are thought to have implications for the infant, with caesarean section potentially increasing the risk of compromised health in both the short and the long term. An unbiased assessment of advantages and disadvantages would assist discussion of what has become a contentious issue in modern obstetrics.
To assess, from randomised trials, the effects on perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality, and on maternal psychological morbidity, of planned caesarean delivery versus planned vaginal birth in women with no clear clinical indication for caesarean section.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (31 January 2012) and reference lists of relevant studies.
Selection criteria
All comparisons of intention to perform caesarean section and intention for women to give birth vaginally; random allocation to treatment and control groups; adequate allocation concealment; women at term with single fetuses with cephalic presentations and no clear medical indication for caesarean section.
Data collection and analysis
We identified no studies that met the inclusion criteria.
Main results
There were no included trials.
Authors’ conclusions
There is no evidence from randomised controlled trials, upon which to base any practice recommendations regarding planned caesarean section for non-medical reasons at term. In the absence of trial data, there is an urgent need for a systematic review of observational studies and a synthesis of qualitative data to better assess the short- and long-term effects of caesarean section and vaginal birth.
PMCID: PMC4171389  PMID: 22419296
*Cesarean Section [adverse effects; psychology]; *Term Birth; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
6.  Study Protocol. ECSSIT – Elective Caesarean Section Syntocinon® Infusion Trial. A multi-centre randomised controlled trial of oxytocin (Syntocinon®) 5 IU bolus and placebo infusion versus oxytocin 5 IU bolus and 40 IU infusion for the control of blood loss at elective caesarean section 
Caesarean section is one of the most commonly performed major operations in women throughout the world. Rates are escalating, with studies from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China and the Republic of Ireland reporting rates between 20% and 25%. Operative morbidity includes haemorrhage, anaemia, blood transfusion and in severe cases, maternal death.
The value of routine oxytocics in the third stage of vaginal birth has been well established and it has been assumed that these benefits apply to caesarean delivery as well. A slow bolus dose of oxytocin is recommended following delivery of the baby at caesarean section. Some clinicians use an additional infusion of oxytocin for a further period following the procedure. Intravenous oxytocin has a very short half-life (4–10 minutes) therefore the potential advantage of an oxytocin infusion is that it maintains uterine contractility throughout the surgical procedure and immediate postpartum period, when most primary haemorrhages occur. The few trials to date addressing the optimal approach to preventing haemorrhage at caesarean section have been under-powered to evaluate clinically important outcomes. There has been no trial to date comparing the use of an intravenous slow bolus of oxytocin versus an oxytocin bolus and infusion.
Methods and design
A multi-centre randomised controlled trial is proposed. The study will take place in five large maternity units in Ireland with collaboration between academics and clinicians in the disciplines of obstetrics and anaesthetics. It will involve 2000 women undergoing elective caesarean section after 36 weeks gestation. The main outcome measure will be major haemorrhage (blood loss >1000 ml). A study involving 2000 women will have 80% power to detect a 36% relative change in the risk of major haemorrhage with two-sided 5% alpha.
It is both important and timely that we evaluate the optimal approach to the management of the third stage at elective caesarean section. Safe operative delivery is now a priority and a reality for many pregnant women. Obstetricians, obstetric anaesthetists, midwives and pregnant women need high quality evidence on which to base management approaches. The overall aim is to reduce maternal haemorrhagic morbidity and its attendant risks at elective caesarean section.
Trial registration
number: ISRCTN17813715
PMCID: PMC2739153  PMID: 19703279
7.  A Five-year Survey of Caesarean Delivery at a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital 
The rising global rate in caesarean delivery has been a source of concern to obstetricians worldwide. In spite of remarkable improvement in the safety of anaesthesia and surgical techniques, caesarean section has higher risks of maternal death when compared with normal vaginal delivery. Thus, the current emphasis is to limit the rising rate of caesarean section to as much as possible.
To determine the rate of caesarean section, pregnancy out-come, major indications and complications of caesarean section.
A five year (January 1st 2005 to December 31st 2009) retrospective analysis of clinical data from the ward admissions and discharge books, patients’ folders and the operating theatre record books at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu.
Out of the 3,554 deliveries during the study period, 980 cases were by caesarean section, giving a rate of 27.6%. Most cases 918 (93.7%) were by emergency caesarean sections, with elective procedure accounting only for 6.3% of the cases. The age range of the women was between 16-48yrs. Four hundred and seven (41.5%) were primigravidae, 503(51.4%) were between para one and para four, while 70 (7.1%) were grand-multipara. The rate of caesarean section was higher amongst the booked patients, 563 (57.5%) than the unbooked patients 355 (36.2%). Two previous caesarean section was the commonest indication for caesarean section 211(21.5%), followed by cephalopelvic disproportion 198 (20.2%), and foetal distress188 (19.2%). A total of 1009 babies were delivered through caesarean section by the 980 women; 955 cases of singleton gestations and 25 cases of multiple gestations (21 twins and 4 triplets). Majority of the babies 918 (91%) were delivered by emergency procedure. More than half of the babies 582(57.7%) had birth asphyxia and there were 39 (3.9%) perinatal deaths. All the cases of perinatal deaths and 549 (94.3%) of birth asphyxia were following emergency procedure. Anaemia was the commonest postpartum morbidity and the maternal case fatality rate was 0.7%.
There is now a further rise in rate of caesarean section after a slight drop that followed the initial high 1.5fold rise from previous studies. The perinatal outcome is poor especially following emergency caesarean section. Reducing primary caesarean section rate and more encouragement of vaginal delivery after one previous caesarean section may reduce the prevalence of two previous caesarean sections which is the leading indication for caesarean section in the hospital.
PMCID: PMC3507098  PMID: 23209958
Caesarean section; survey; tertiary hospital: Nigeria
8.  Effects of caesarean section on maternal health in low risk nulliparous women: a prospective matched cohort study in Shanghai, China 
Rates of caesarean section are progressively increasing in many parts of the world. As a result of psychosocial factors there has been an increasing tendency for pregnant women without justifiable medical indications for caesarean section to ask for this procedure in China. A critical examination of this issue in relation to maternal outcomes is important. At present there are no clinical trials to help assess the risks and benefits of caesarean section in low risk women. To fill the gap left by trials, this indication-matched cohort study was carried out to examine prospectively the outcomes of caesarean section on women with no absolute obstetric indication compared with similar women who had vaginal delivery.
An indication-matched cohort study was undertaken to compare maternal outcomes following caesarean section with those undergoing vaginal delivery, in which the two groups were matched for non-absolute indications. 301 nulliparous women with caesarean section were matched successfully with 301 women who delivered vaginally in the Maternal and Children's Hospitals (MCHs) in Shanghai, China. Logistic regression model or binomial regression model was used to estimate the relative risk (RR) directly. Adjusted RRs were calculated adjusting for propensity score and medical indications.
The incidence of total complications was 2.2 times higher in the caesarean section group during hospitalization post-partum, compared with the vaginal delivery group (RR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.1-4.4). The risk of haemorrhage from the start of labour until 2 hours post-partum was significantly higher in the caesarean group (RR = 5.6; 95% CI: 1.2-26.9). The risk of chronic abdominal pain was significantly higher for the caesarean section group (RR = 3.6; 95% CI: 1.2-10.9) than for the vaginal delivery group within 12 months post-partum. The two groups had similar incidences of anaemia and complicating infections such as wound complications or urinary tract infection.
In nulliparous women who were at low risk, caesarean section was associated with a higher rate of post-partum morbidity. Those requesting the surgical procedure with no conventional medical indication, should be advised of the potential risks.
PMCID: PMC3014869  PMID: 21122153
9.  Caesarean section versus vaginal delivery for preterm birth in singletons 
Planned caesarean delivery for women thought be in preterm labour may be protective for baby, but could also be quite traumatic for both mother and baby. The optimal mode of delivery of preterm babies for both cephalic and breech presentation remains, therefore, controversial.
To assess the effects of a policy of planned immediate caesarean delivery versus planned vaginal birth for women in preterm labour.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (24 April 2012).
Selection criteria
Randomised trials comparing a policy of planned immediate caesarean delivery versus planned vaginal delivery for preterm birth.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias. Data were checked for accuracy.
Main results
We included six studies (involving 122 women) but only four studies (involving only 116 women) contributed data to the analyses.
There were very little data of relevance to the three main (primary) outcomes considered in this review: There was no significant difference between planned immediate caesarean section and planned vaginal delivery with respect to birth injury to infant (risk ratio (RR) 0.56, 95%, confidence interval (CI) 0.05 to 5.62; one trial, 38 women) or birth asphyxia (RR 1.63, 95% CI 0.84 to 3.14; onetrial, 12 women). The only cases of birth trauma were a laceration of the buttock in a baby who was delivered by caesarean section and mild bruising in another allocated to the group delivered vaginally.
The difference between the two groups with regard to perinatal deaths was not significant (0.29, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.14; three trials, 89 women) and there were no data specifically relating to neonatal admission to special care and/or intensive care unit.
There was also no difference between the caesarean or vaginal delivery groups in terms of markers of possible birth asphyxia (RR 1.63, 95% CI 0.84 to 3.14; one trial, 12 women) or Apgar score less than seven at five minutes (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.60; four trials, 115 women) and no difference in attempts at breastfeeding (RR 1.40, 95% 0.11 to 17.45; one trial, 12 women). There was also no difference in neonatal fitting/seizures (RR 0.22, 95% CI 0.01 to 4.32; three trials, 77 women), hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (RR 4.00, 95% CI 0.20 to 82.01;one trial, 12 women) or respiratory distress syndrome (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.27 to 1.10; three trials, 103 women). There were no data reported in the trials specifically relating to meconium aspiration. There was also no significant difference between the two groups for abnormal follow-up in childhood (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.19 to 2.22; one trial, 38 women) or delivery less than seven days after entry (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.24; two trials, 51 women).
There were no data reported on maternal admissions to intensive care. However, there were seven cases of major maternal postpartum complications in the group allocated to planned immediate caesarean section and none in the group randomised to vaginal delivery (RR 7.21, 95% CI 1.37 to 38.08; four trials, 116 women).
There were no data reported in the trials specifically relating to maternal satisfaction (postnatal). There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to postpartum haemorrhage. A number of non-prespecified secondary outcomes were also considered in the analyses. There was a significant advantage for women in the vaginal delivery group with respect to maternal puerperal pyrexia (RR 2.98, 95% CI 1.18 to 7.53; three trials, 89 women) and other maternal infection (RR 2.63, 95% CI 1.02 to 6.78; three trials, 103 women), but no significant differences in wound infection (RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.18 to 7.70; three trials, 103 women), maternal stay more than 10 days (RR 1.27, 95% CI 0.35 to 4.65; three trials, 78 women) or the need for blood transfusion (results not estimable).
Authors’ conclusions
There is not enough evidence to evaluate the use of a policy of planned immediate caesarean delivery for preterm babies. Further studies are needed in this area, but recruitment is proving difficult.
PMCID: PMC4164504  PMID: 22696314
*Delivery, Obstetric; *Obstetric Labor, Premature; Birth Injuries [etiology]; Cesarean Section [adverse effects]; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Premature; Infant, Small for Gestational Age; Perinatal Mortality; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Surgical Procedures, Elective; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
10.  Comparison of suture material and technique of closure of subcutaneous fat and skin in caesarean section 
A large number of women undergo caesarean section throughout the world. These women pass through a period of post operative pain and a morbidity period. These women translate into a substantial portion of population and hence there is a load on the financial resources of healthcare system. Use of the appropriate technique to approximate the wound after caesarean section would not only avoid financial load but also help in early recovery of the patient.
The aim of this study is to compare the effects of alternative techniques for closure of subcutaneous fat and skin on maternal health and use of healthcare resources in caesarean section.
Materials and Methods:
Patients undergoing Caesarean section were divided in two groups of one thousand patients each. Patients with hematological disorders or a malignancy, diabetes, septicemia or chorioamnionitis were excluded from the study. In all the patients, after stitching the uterus, the rectus sheath was stitched with thread vicryl No.1 (synthetic absorbable braided sutures with polyglycolic acid, polycaprolactone and calcium stearate coating), using a round body needle. Then the patients were divided into two groups. In group I, vicryl No.1 thread used in stitching of the rectus sheath was continued into the skin with application of subcuticular stitches, after securing the edges with a knot. In group II, after stitching the rectus sheath with vicryl No. 1, the thread was cut and interrupted sutures were applied in subcutaneous fat with thread vicryl No. 2. Skin was stitched with subcuticular stitches using proline 2, a non-absorbable propylene suture. The two groups of patients were observed for the duration of surgery, post-operative pain in stitches, patient satisfaction about removal of stitches, evidence of wound infection or seroma, and cosmetic results.
It was noted that the duration of surgery in group I was on average 7.5 minutes less as compared to the duration in group II. Patients in group I were more satisfied with the results of the surgery and were relieved to know that their stitches did not need to be removed.
Although no difference was found in the rates of wound infection and formation of scar tissue between the group I and group II, the duration of surgery was less and the patients were more satisfied in group I.
PMCID: PMC3336893  PMID: 22540072
Subcuticular stitches; intradermal stitches; suture material
11.  Efficacy of single dose of gentamicin in combination with metronidazole versus multiple doses for prevention of post-caesarean infection: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:89.
Caesarean section is a commonly performed operation worldwide. It has been found to increase rates of maternal infectious morbidities more than five times when compared to vaginal delivery. Provision of intravenous prophylactic antibiotics 30 to 60 minutes prior to caesarean section has been found to reduce post-caesarean infection tremendously. Many centers recommend provision of a single dose of antibiotics, as repeated doses offer no benefit over a single dose.
At Bugando Medical Centre post caesarean infection is among the top five causes of admission at the post-natal ward. Unfortunately, there is no consistent protocol for the administration of antibiotic prophylaxis to patients who are designated for caesarean section. Common practice and generally the clinician’s preference are to provide repeated dosages of antibiotic prophylaxis after caesarean section to most of the patients. This study aims to determine the comparative efficacy of a single dose of gentamicin in combination with metronidazole versus multiple doses for prevention of post caesarean infection.
The study is an interventional, open-label, two-armed, randomized, single-center study conducted at Bugando Medical Centre Mwanza, Tanzania. It is an ongoing trial for the period of seven months; 490 eligible candidates will be enrolled in the study. Study subjects will be randomly allocated into two study arms; “A” and “B”. Candidates in “A” will receive a single dose of gentamicin in combination with metronidazole 30 to 60 minutes prior to the operation and candidates in “B” will receive the same drugs prior to the operation and continue with gentamicin and metronidazole for 24 hours. The two groups will be followed up for a period of one month and assessed for signs and symptoms of surgical site infection.
Data will be extracted from a case record form and entered into Epi data3.1 software before being transferred to SPSS version 17.0 for analysis. The absolute difference in proportion of women who develop surgical site infection in the two study arms will be the effectiveness of one regime over the other.
Trial registration
Current Controlled TrialsISRCTN44462542.
PMCID: PMC3475059  PMID: 22720689
Post-caesarean infection; Metronidazole; Gentamicin; Mwanza; Tanzania
12.  Women’s preference for caesarean section: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies 
Bjog  2010;118(4):391-399.
The striking increase in caesarean section rates in middle and high-income countries has been partly attributed to maternal request. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of women’s preferences for caesarean section.
To review the published literature on women’s preferences for caesarean section.
Search strategy
A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS and PsychINFO was performed. References of all included articles were examined.
Selection criteria
We included studies that quantitatively evaluated women’s preferences for caesarean section in any country. We excluded articles assessing health providers’ preferences and qualitative studies.
Data collection and analysis
Two reviewers independently screened abstracts of all identified citations, selected potentially eligible studies, and assessed their full-text versions. We conducted a meta-analysis of proportions, and a meta-regression analysis to determine variables significantly associated with caesarean section preference.
Main Results
38 studies were included (n= 19,403). The overall pooled preference for caesarean section was 15.6% (95% CI: 12.5–18.9). Higher preference for caesarean section was reported in women with a previous caesarean section versus women without a previous caesarean section (29.4% – 95% CI: 24.4 to 34.8 - versus 10.1% – 95% CI: 7.5 to 13.1), and those living in a middle-income country versus a high-income country (22.1% –95% CI: 17.6 to 26.9 -versus 11.8% – 95% CI: 8.9 to 15.1).
Only a minority of women in a wide variety of countries expressed a preference for caesarean delivery. Further research is needed to better estimate the contribution of women’s demand to the rising caesarean section rates.
PMCID: PMC3312015  PMID: 21134103
“Caesarean section”; “delivery; obstetric”; “childbirth”; “request”; “prefer”; “choice”
13.  Trial of instrumental delivery in theatre versus immediate caesarean section for anticipated difficult assisted births 
The majority of women have spontaneous vaginal births, but some women need assistance in the second stage with delivery of the baby, using either the obstetric forceps or vacuum extraction. Rates of instrumental vaginal delivery range from 5% to 20% of all births in industrialised countries. The majority of instrumental vaginal deliveries are conducted in the delivery room, but in a small proportion (2% to 5%), a trial of instrumental vaginal delivery is conducted in theatre with preparations made for proceeding to caesarean section.
To determine differences in maternal and neonatal morbidity between women who, due to anticipated difficulty, have trial of instrumental vaginal delivery in theatre and those who have immediate caesarean section for failure to progress in the second stage.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (28 June 2012).
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials comparing trial of instrumental vaginal delivery (vacuum extraction or forceps) in operating theatre to immediate caesarean section for women with failure to progress in the second stage (active second stage more than 60 minutes in primigravidae).
Data collection and analysis
We identified no studies meeting our inclusion criteria.
Main results
No studies were included.
Authors’ conclusions
There is no current evidence from randomised trials to influence practice.
PMCID: PMC4171385  PMID: 23076915
*Cesarean Section; Extraction, Obstetrical [*methods]; Labor Stage, Second; Obstetrical Forceps; Operating Rooms; Pregnancy, High-Risk; Trial of Labor; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
14.  Early amniotomy and early oxytocin for prevention of, or therapy for, delay in first stage spontaneous labour compared with routine care 
Caesarean section rates are over 20% in many developed countries. The main diagnosis contributing to the high rate in nulliparae is dystocia or prolonged labour. The present review assesses the effects of a policy of early amniotomy with early oxytocin administration for the prevention of, or the therapy for, delay in labour progress.
To estimate the effects of early augmentation with amniotomy and oxytocin for prevention of, or therapy for, delay in labour progress on the caesarean birth rate and on indicators of maternal and neonatal morbidity.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (15 February 2012), MEDLINE (1966 to 15 February 2012), EMBASE (1980 to 15 February 2012), CINAHL (1982 to 15 February 2012), MIDIRS (1985 to February 2012) and contacted authors for data from unpublished trials.
Selection criteria
Randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials that compared oxytocin and amniotomy with expectant management.
Data collection and analysis
Three review authors extracted data independently. We stratified the analyses into ’Prevention Trials’ and ’Therapy Trials’ according to the status of the woman at the time of randomization. Participants in the ’Prevention Trials’ were unselected women, without slow progress in labour, who were randomized to a policy of early augmentation or to routine care. In ’Treatment Trials’ women were eligible if they had an established delay in labour progress.
Main results
For this update, we have included a further two new clinical trials. This updated review includes 14 trials, randomizing a total of 8033 women. The unstratified analysis found early intervention with amniotomy and oxytocin to be associated with a modest reduction in the risk of caesarean section; however, the confidence interval (CI) included the null effect (risk ratio (RR) 0.89; 95% CI 0.79 to 1.01; 14 trials; 8033 women). In prevention trials, early augmentation was associated with a modest reduction in the number of caesarean births (RR 0.87; 95% CI 0.77 to 0.99; 11 trials; 7753). A policy of early amniotomy and early oxytocin was associated with a shortened duration of labour (average mean difference (MD) −1.28 hours; 95% CI −1.97 to −0.59; eight trials; 4816 women). Sensitivity analyses excluding four trials with a full package of active management did not substantially affect the point estimate for risk of caesarean section (RR 0.87; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.05; 10 trials; 5165 women). We found no other significant effects for the other indicators of maternal or neonatal morbidity.
Authors’ conclusions
In prevention trials, early intervention with amniotomy and oxytocin appears to be associated with a modest reduction in the rate of caesarean section over standard care.
PMCID: PMC4160792  PMID: 22972098
*Labor Stage, First; Amnion [*surgery]; Cesarean Section [utilization]; Obstetric Labor Complications [prevention & control; *therapy]; Oxytocics [*administration & dosage]; Oxytocin [*administration & dosage]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Time Factors; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
15.  Ursodeoxycholic acid versus placebo, and early term delivery versus expectant management, in women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: semifactorial randomised clinical trial 
Objectives To test whether ursodeoxycholic acid reduces pruritus in women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, whether early term delivery does not increase the incidence of caesarean section, and the feasibility of recruiting women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy to trials of these interventions.
Design First phase of a semifactorial randomised controlled trial.
Setting Nine consultant led maternity units, United Kingdom.
Participants 125 women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (pruritus and raised levels of serum bile acids) or pruritus and raised alanine transaminase levels (>100 IU/L) recruited after 24 weeks’ gestation and followed until delivery. 56 women were randomised to ursodeoxycholic acid, 55 to placebo, 30 to early term delivery, and 32 to expectant management.
Interventions Ursodeoxycholic acid 500 mg twice daily or placebo increased as necessary for symptomatic or biochemical improvement until delivery; early term delivery (induction or delivery started between 37+0 and 37+6) or expectant management (spontaneous labour awaited until 40 weeks’ gestation or caesarean section undertaken by normal obstetric guidelines, usually after 39 weeks’ gestation).
Main outcome measures The primary outcome for ursodeoxycholic acid was maternal itch (arithmetic mean of measures (100 mm visual analogue scale) of worst itch in past 24 hours) and for the timing of delivery was caesarean section. Secondary outcomes were other maternal and perinatal outcomes and recruitment rates.
Results Ursodeoxycholic acid reduced itching by −16 mm (95% confidence interval −27 mm to −6 mm), less than the 30 mm difference prespecified by clinicians and women as clinically meaningful. 32% (14/44) of women randomised to ursodeoxycholic acid experienced a reduction in worst itching by at least 30 mm compared with 16% (6/37) randomised to placebo. The difference of 16% (95% confidence interval −3 to 34); this would represent a number needed to treat of 6, but it failed to reach significance. Early term delivery did not increase caesarean sections (7/30 (23%) in the early term delivery group versus 11/32 (33%) in the expectant management group (relative risk 0.70, 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 1.57). No serious harms were noted in either trial. 22% (73/325) of eligible women participated in the drug trial and 19% (39/209) in the timing of delivery trial; both groups had a similar spectrum of disease severity to non-participants.
Conclusions Ursodeoxycholic acid significantly reduces pruritus, but the size of the benefit may be too small for most doctors to recommend it, or for most women to want to take it. Women are, however, likely to differ in whether they consider the benefit to be worthwhile. Planned early term delivery seems not to increase incidence of caesarean section, although a small increase cannot be excluded. A trial to test whether ursodeoxycholic acid reduces adverse perinatal outcomes would have to be large, but is feasible. A trial to test the effect of early term delivery on adverse fetal outcomes would have to be significantly larger and may not be feasible.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN37730443.
PMCID: PMC3420230  PMID: 22695903
16.  Interventions for helping to turn term breech babies to head first presentation when using external cephalic version 
Breech presentation is associated with increased complications. Turning a breech baby to head first presentation using external cephalic version (ECV) attempts to reduce the chances of breech presentation at birth, and reduce the adverse effects of breech vaginal birth or caesarean section. Tocolytic drugs and other methods have been used in an attempt to facilitate ECV.
To assess interventions such as tocolysis, fetal acoustic stimulation, regional analgesia, transabdominal amnioinfusion or systemic opioids on ECV for a breech baby at term.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (30 September 2011) and the reference lists of identified studies.
Selection criteria
Randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing the above interventions with no intervention or other methods to facilitate ECV at term.
Data collection and analysis
We assessed eligibility and trial quality. Two review authors independently assessed for inclusion all potential studies identified as a result of the search strategy and independently extracted the data using a designed data extraction form.
Main results
We included 25 studies, providing data on 2548 women. We used the random-effects model for pooling data due to clinical heterogeneity in the included studies in the various comparisons. The overall quality of the evidence was reasonable, but a number of assessments had insufficient data to provide an answer with any degree of assurance.
Tocolytic drugs, in particular betastimulants, were effective in increasing cephalic presentations in labour (average risk ratio (RR) 1.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 1.85, eight studies, 993 women) and in reducing the number of caesarean sections (average RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.94, eight studies, 1177 women). No differences were identified in fetal bradycardias (average RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.48 to 1.89, three studies, 467 women) although the review is underpowered for assessing this outcome. We identified no difference in success, cephalic presentation in labour and caesarean sections between nulliparous and multiparous women. There were insufficient data comparing different groups of tocolytic drugs. Sensitivity analyses by study quality agreed with the overall findings.
Regional analgesia in combination with a tocolytic was more effective than the tocolytic alone in terms of increasing successful versions (assessed by the rate of failed ECVs, average RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.89, six studies, 550 women) but there was no difference identified in cephalic presentation in labour (average RR 1.63, 95% CI 0.75 to 3.53, three studies, 279 women) nor in caesarean sections (average RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.37, three studies, 279 women) or fetal bradycardia (average RR 1.48, 95% CI 0.62 to 3.57, two studies, 210 women).
There were insufficient data on the use of vibroacoustic stimulation, amnioinfusion or systemic opioids.
Authors’ conclusions
Betastimulants, to facilitate ECV, increased cephalic presentation in labour and birth, and reduced the caesarean section rate in both nulliparous and multiparous women, but there were insufficient data on adverse effects. Calcium channel blockers and nitric acid donors had insufficient data to provide good evidence. At present we recommend betamimetics for facilitating ECV.
There is scope for further research. The possible benefits of tocolysis to reduce the force required for successful version and the possible risks of maternal cardiovascular side effects, need to be addressed further. Further trials are needed to compare the effectiveness of routine versus selective use of tocolysis, the role of regional analgesia, fetal acoustic stimulation, amnioinfusion and the effect of intravenous or oral hydration prior to ECV.
Although randomised trials of nitroglycerine are small, the results are sufficiently negative to discourage further trials.
PMCID: PMC4171393  PMID: 22258940
Analgesia, Obstetrical [methods]; Breech Presentation [* prevention & control]; Calcium Channel Blockers [therapeutic use]; Delivery, Obstetric; Nitroglycerin [therapeutic use]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Tocolysis [* methods]; Tocolytic Agents [therapeutic use]; Version, Fetal [* methods]; Vibration [therapeutic use]; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
17.  Birth after caesarean study – planned vaginal birth or planned elective repeat caesarean for women at term with a single previous caesarean birth: protocol for a patient preference study and randomised trial 
For women who have a caesarean section in their preceding pregnancy, two care policies for birth are considered standard: planned vaginal birth and planned elective repeat caesarean. Currently available information about the benefits and harms of both forms of care are derived from retrospective and prospective cohort studies. There have been no randomised trials, and recognising the deficiencies in the literature, there have been calls for methodologically rigorous studies to assess maternal and infant health outcomes associated with both care policies.
The aims of our study are to assess in women with a previous caesarean birth, who are eligible in the subsequent pregnancy for a vaginal birth, whether a policy of planned vaginal birth after caesarean compared with a policy of planned repeat caesarean affects the risk of serious complications for the woman and her infant.
Design: Multicentred patient preference study and a randomised clinical trial.
Inclusion Criteria: Women with a single prior caesarean presenting in their next pregnancy with a single, live fetus in cephalic presentation, who have reached 37 weeks gestation, and who do not have a contraindication to a planned VBAC.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Eligible women will be given an information sheet during pregnancy, and will be recruited to the study from 37 weeks gestation after an obstetrician has confirmed eligibility for a planned vaginal birth. Written informed consent will be obtained. Women who consent to the patient preference study will be allocated their preference for either planned VBAC or planned, elective repeat caesarean. Women who consent to the randomised trial will be randomly allocated to either the planned vaginal birth after caesarean or planned elective repeat caesarean group.
Treatment Groups: Women in the planned vaginal birth group will await spontaneous onset of labour whilst appropriate. Women in the elective repeat caesarean group will have this scheduled for between 38 and 40 weeks.
Primary Study Outcome: Serious adverse infant outcome (death or serious morbidity).
Sample Size: 2314 women in the patient preference study to show a difference in adverse neonatal outcome from 1.6% to 3.6% (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Clinical Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC1988834  PMID: 17697343
18.  Effect of partogram use on outcomes for women in spontaneous labour at term 
The partogram (sometimes known as partograph) is usually a pre-printed paper form on which labour observations are recorded. The aim of the partogram is to provide a pictorial overview of labour, to alert midwives and obstetricians to deviations in maternal or fetal wellbeing and labour progress. Charts often contain pre-printed alert and action lines. An alert line represents the slowest 10% of primigravid women’s labour progress. An action line is placed a number of hours after the alert line (usually two or four hours) to prompt effective management of slow progress of labour.
To determine the effect of use of partogram on perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality.
To determine the effect of partogram design on perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (31 May 2012).
Selection criteria
Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials involving a comparison of partogram with no partogram, or comparison between different partogram designs.
Data collection and analysis
Three review authors independently assessed eligibility, quality and extracted data. When one review author was also the trial author, the two remaining authors assessed the studies independently.
Main results
We have included six studies involving 7706 women in this review; two studies assessed partogram versus no partogram and the remainder assessed different partogram designs. There was no evidence of any difference between partogram and no partogram in caesarean section (risk ratio (RR) 0.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.24 to 1.70); instrumental vaginal delivery (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.17) or Apgar score less than seven at five minutes (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.29 to 2.06) between the groups. When compared to a four-hour action line, women in the two-hour action line group were more likely to require oxytocin augmentation (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.22). When the three- and four-hour action line groups were compared, caesarean section rate was lowest in the four-hour action line group and this difference was statistically significant (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.70, n = 613, one trial). When a partogram with a latent phase (composite) and one without (modified) were compared, the caesarean section rate was lower in the partograph without a latent phase (RR 2.45, 95% CI 1.72 to 3.50, n = 743, one trial).
Authors’ conclusions
On the basis of the findings of this review, we cannot recommend routine use of the partogram as part of standard labour management and care. Given the fact that the partogram is currently in widespread use and generally accepted, it appears reasonable, until stronger evidence is available, that partogram use should be locally determined. Further trial evidence is required to establish the efficacy of partogram use.
PMCID: PMC4161496  PMID: 22895950
*Pregnancy Outcome; Cesarean Section [utilization]; Delivery, Obstetric [methods]; Labor, Obstetric [* physiology]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Term Birth [* physiology]; Uterine Inertia [diagnosis]; Uterine Monitoring [* methods]; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
19.  Induction of labour versus expectant management for nulliparous women over 35 years of age: a multi-centre prospective, randomised controlled trial 
British women are increasingly delaying childbirth. The proportion giving birth over the age of 35 rose from 12% in 1996 to 20% in 2006. Women over this age are at a higher risk of perinatal death, and antepartum stillbirth accounts for 61% of all such deaths. Women over 40 years old have a similar stillbirth risk at 39 weeks as women who are between 25 and 29 years old have at 41 weeks.
Many obstetricians respond to this by suggesting labour induction at term to forestall some of the risk. In a national survey of obstetricians 37% already induce women aged 40–44 years. A substantial minority of parents support such a policy, but others do not on the grounds that it might increase the risk of Caesarean section. However trials of induction in other high-risk scenarios have not shown any increase in Caesarean sections, rather the reverse. If induction for women over 35 did not increase Caesareans, or even reduced them, it would plausibly improve perinatal outcome and be an acceptable intervention. We therefore plan to perform a trial to test the effect of such an induction policy on Caesarean section rates.
This trial is funded by the NHS Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme.
The 35/39 trial is a multi-centre, prospective, randomised controlled trial. It is being run in twenty UK centres and we aim to recruit 630 nulliparous women (315 per group) aged over 35 years of age, over two years. Women will be randomly allocated to one of two groups:
Induction of labour between 390/7 and 396/7 weeks gestation.
Expectant management i.e. awaiting spontaneous onset of labour unless a situation develops necessitating either induction of labour or Caesarean Section.
The primary purpose of this trial is to establish what effect a policy of induction of labour at 39 weeks for nulliparous women of advanced maternal age has on the rate of Caesarean section deliveries. The secondary aim is to act as a pilot study for a trial to answer the question, does induction of labour in this group of women improve perinatal outcomes? Randomisation will occur at 360/7 – 396/7 weeks gestation via a computerised randomisation programme at the Clinical Trials Unit, University of Nottingham. There will be no blinding to treatment allocation.
The 35/39 trial is powered to detect an effect of induction of labour on the risk of caesarean section, it is underpowered to determine whether it improves perinatal outcome. The current study will also act as a pilot for a larger study to address this question.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3560256  PMID: 23231750
Induction of labour; Advanced maternal age; Perinatal outcome; Caesarean delivery
20.  Planned home versus hospital care for preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes (PPROM) prior to 37 weeks’ gestation 
Preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) is associated with increased risk of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Women with PPROM have been predominantly managed in hospital. It is possible that selected women could be managed at home after a period of observation. The safety, cost and women’s views about home management have not been established.
To assess the safety, cost and women’s views about planned home versus hospital care for women with PPROM.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (January 2010) and the reference lists of all the identified articles.
Selection criteria
Randomised and quasi-randomised trials comparing planned home versus hospital management for women with PPROM before 37 weeks’ gestation.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed clinical trials for eligibility for inclusion, risk of bias, and carried out data extraction.
Main results
We included two trials (116 women) comparing planned home versus hospital management for PPROM. Overall, the number of included women in each trial was too small to allow adequate assessment of pre-specified outcomes. Investigators used strict inclusion criteria and in both studies relatively few of the women presenting with PPROM were eligible for inclusion. Women were monitored for 48 to 72 hours before randomisation. Perinatal mortality was reported in one trial and there was insufficient evidence to determine whether it differed between the two groups (risk ratio (RR) 1.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19 to 20.05). There was no evidence of differences between groups for serious neonatal morbidity, chorioamnionitis, gestational age at delivery, birthweight and admission to neonatal intensive care.
There was no information on serious maternal morbidity or mortality. There was some evidence that women managed in hospital were more likely to be delivered by caesarean section (RR (random-effects) 0.28, 95% CI 0.07 to 1.15). However, results should be interpreted cautiously as there is a moderate heterogeneity for this outcome (I2 = 35%). Mothers randomised to care at home spent approximately 10 fewer days as inpatients (mean difference −9.60, 95% CI −14.59 to −4.61) and were more satisfied with their care. Furthermore, home care was associated with reduced costs.
Authors’ conclusions
The review included two relatively small studies that did not have sufficient statistical power to detect meaningful differences between groups. Future large and adequately powered randomised controlled trials are required to measure differences between groups for relevant pre-specified outcomes. Special attention should be given to the assessment of maternal satisfaction with care and cost analysis as they will have social and economic implications in both developed and developing countries.
PMCID: PMC4170988  PMID: 20393965
*Home Care Services; *Hospitalization; *Patient Discharge; Chorioamnionitis [epidemiology]; Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture [mortality; *therapy]; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Newborn, Diseases [diagnosis]; Length of Stay; Patient Satisfaction; Perinatal Mortality; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
21.  In Vitro Fertilization and Multiple Pregnancies 
Executive Summary
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of IVF for infertility treatment, as well as the role of IVF in reducing the rate of multiple pregnancies.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Typically defined as a failure to conceive after a year of regular unprotected intercourse, infertility affects 8% to 16% of reproductive age couples. The condition can be caused by disruptions at various steps of the reproductive process. Major causes of infertility include abnormalities of sperm, tubal obstruction, endometriosis, ovulatory disorder, and idiopathic infertility. Depending on the cause and patient characteristics, management options range from pharmacologic treatment to more advanced techniques referred to as assisted reproductive technologies (ART). ART include IVF and IVF-related procedures such as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and, according to some definitions, intra-uterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination. Almost invariably, an initial step in ART is controlled ovarian stimulation (COS), which leads to a significantly higher rate of multiple pregnancies after ART compared with that following natural conception. Multiple pregnancies are associated with a broad range of negative consequences for both mother and fetuses. Maternal complications include increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, polyhydramnios, gestational diabetes, fetal malpresentation requiring Caesarean section, postpartum haemorrhage, and postpartum depression. Babies from multiple pregnancies are at a significantly higher risk of early death, prematurity, and low birth weight, as well as mental and physical disabilities related to prematurity. Increased maternal and fetal morbidity leads to higher perinatal and neonatal costs of multiple pregnancies, as well as subsequent lifelong costs due to disabilities and an increased need for medical and social support.
The Technology Being Reviewed
IVF was first developed as a method to overcome bilateral Fallopian tube obstruction. The procedure includes several steps: (1) the woman’s egg is retrieved from the ovaries; (2) exposed to sperm outside the body and fertilized; (3) the embryo(s) is cultured for 3 to 5 days; and (4) is transferred back to the uterus. IFV is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for infertility today. According to data from the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technology Registry, the average live birth rate after IVF in Canada is around 30%, but there is considerable variation in the age of the mother and primary cause of infertility.
An important advantage of IVF is that it allows for the control of the number of embryos transferred. An elective single embryo transfer in IVF cycles adopted in many European countries was shown to significantly reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies while maintaining acceptable birth rates. However, when number of embryos transferred is not limited, the rate of IVF-associated multiple pregnancies is similar to that of other treatments involving ovarian stimulation. The practice of multiple embryo transfer in IVF is often the result of pressures to increase success rates due to the high costs of the procedure. The average rate of multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF in Canada is currently around 30%.
An alternative to IVF is IUI. In spite of reported lower success rates of IUI (pregnancy rates per cycle range from 8.7% to 17.1%) it is generally attempted before IVF due to its lower invasiveness and cost.
Two major drawbacks of IUI are that it cannot be used in cases of bilateral tubal obstruction and it does not allow much control over the risk of multiple pregnancies compared with IVF. The rate of multiple pregnancies after IUI with COS is estimated to be about 21% to 29%.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan Coverage
Currently, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan covers the cost of IVF for women with bilaterally blocked Fallopian tubes only, in which case it is funded for 3 cycles, excluding the cost of drugs. The cost of IUI is covered except for preparation of the sperm and drugs used for COS.
Diffusion of Technology
According to Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technology Registry data, in 2004 there were 25 infertility clinics across Canada offering IVF and 7,619 IVF cycles performed. In Ontario, there are 13 infertility clinics with about 4,300 IVF cycles performed annually.
Literature Review
Royal Commission Report on Reproductive Technologies
The 1993 release of the Royal Commission report on reproductive technologies, Proceed With Care, resulted in the withdrawal of most IVF funding in Ontario, where prior to 1994 IVF was fully funded. Recommendations of the Commission to withdraw IVF funding were largely based on findings of the systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published before 1990. The review showed IVF effectiveness only in cases of bilateral tubal obstruction. As for nontubal causes of infertility, there was not enough evidence to establish whether IVF was effective or not.
Since the field of reproductive technology is constantly evolving, there have been several changes since the publication of the Royal Commission report. These changes include: increased success rates of IVF; introduction of ICSI in the early 1990’s as a treatment for male factor infertility; and improved embryo implantation rates allowing for the transfer of a single embryo to avoid multiple pregnancies after IVF.
Studies After the Royal Commission Report: Review Strategy
Three separate literature reviews were conducted in the following areas: clinical effectiveness of IVF, cost-effectiveness of IVF, and outcomes of single embryo transfer (SET) in IVF cycles.
Clinical effectiveness of IVF: RCTs or meta-analyses of RCTs that compared live birth rates after IVF versus alternative treatments, where the cause of infertility was clearly stated or it was possible to stratify the outcome by the cause of infertility.
Cost effectiveness of IVF: All relevant economic studies comparing IVF to alternative methods of treatment were reviewed
Outcomes of IVF with SET: RCTs or meta-analyses of RCTs that compared live birth rates and multiple birth rates associated with transfer of single versus double embryos.
OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment database, and websites of other health technology assessment agencies were searched using specific subject headings and keywords to identify relevant studies.
Summary of Findings
Comparative Clinical Effectiveness of IVF
Overall, there is a lack of well composed RCTs in this area and considerable diversity in both definition and measurement of outcomes exists between trials. Many studies used fertility or pregnancy rates instead of live birth rates. Moreover, the denominator for rate calculation varied from study to study (e.g. rates were calculated per cycle started, per cycle completed, per couple, etc...).
Nevertheless, few studies of sufficient quality were identified and categorized by the cause of infertility and existing alternatives to IVF. The following are the key findings:
A 2005 meta-analysis demonstrated that, in patients with idiopathic infertility, IVF was clearly superior to expectant management, but there were no statistically significant differences in live birth rates between IVF and IUI, nor between IVF and gamete-intra-Fallopian transfer.
A subset of data from a 2000 study showed no significant differences in pregnancy rates between IVF and IUI for moderate male factor infertility.
In patients with moderate male factor infertility, standard IVF was also compared with ICSI in a 2002 meta-analysis. All studies included in the meta-analysis showed superior fertilization rates with ICSI, and the pooled risk ratio for oocyte fertilization was 1.9 (95% Confidence Interval 1.4-2.5) in favour of ICSI. Two other RCTs in this area published after the 2002 meta-analysis had similar results and further confirmed these findings. There were no RCTs comparing IVF with ICSI in patients with severe male factor infertility, mainly because based on the expert opinion, ICSI might only be an effective treatment for severe male factor infertility.
Cost-Effectiveness of IVF
Five economic evaluations of IVF were found, including one comprehensive systematic review of 57 health economic studies. The studies compared cost-effectiveness of IVF with a number of alternatives such as observation, ovarian stimulation, IUI, tubal surgery, varicocelectomy, etc... The cost-effectiveness of IVF was analyzed separately for different types of infertility. Most of the reviewed studies concluded that due to the high cost, IVF has a less favourable cost-effectiveness profile compared with alternative treatment options. Therefore, IVF was not recommended as the first line of treatment in the majority of cases. The only two exceptions were bilateral tubal obstruction and severe male factor infertility, where an immediate offer of IVF/ICSI might the most cost-effective option.
Clinical Outcomes After Single Versus Double Embryo Transfer Strategies of IVF
Since the SET strategy has been more widely adopted in Europe, all RCT outcomes of SET were conducted in European countries. The major study in this area was a large 2005 meta-analysis, followed by two other published RCTs.
All of these studies reached similar conclusions:
Although a single SET cycle results in lower birth rates than a single double embryo transfer (DET) cycle, the cumulative birth rate after 2 cycles of SET (fresh + frozen-thawed embryos) was comparable to the birth rate after a single DET cycle (~40%).
SET was associated with a significant reduction in multiple births compared with DET (0.8% vs. 33.1% respectively in the largest RCT).
Most trials on SET included women younger than 36 years old with a sufficient number of embryos available for transfer that allowed for selection of the top quality embryo(s). A 2006 RCT, however, compared SET and DET strategies in an unselected group of patients without restrictions on the woman’s age or embryo quality. This study demonstrated that SET could be applied to older women.
Estimate of the Target Population
Based on results of the literature review and consultations with experts, four categories of infertile patients who may benefit from increased access to IVF/ICSI were identified:
Patients with severe male factor infertility, where IVF should be offered in conjunction with ICSI;
Infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, who should be offered IVF-SET;
Infertile patients who want to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy and thus opt for IVF-SET; and
Patients who failed treatment with IUI and wish to try IVF.
Since, however, the latter indication does not reflect any new advances in IVF technology that would alter existing policy, it was not considered in this analysis.
Economic Analysis
Economic Review: Cost–Effectiveness of SET Versus DET
Conclusions of published studies on cost-effectiveness of SET versus DET were not consistent. While some studies found that SET strategy is more cost-effective due to avoidance of multiple pregnancies, other studies either did not find any significant differences in cost per birth between SET and DET, or favoured DET as a more cost-effective option.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
An Ontario-based economic analysis compared cost per birth using three treatment strategies: IUI, IVF-SET, and IVF-DET. A decision-tree model assumed three cycles for each treatment option. Two separate models were considered; the first included only fresh cycles of IVF, while the second had a combination of fresh and frozen cycles. Even after accounting for cost-savings due to avoidance of multiple pregnancies (only short-term complications), IVF-SET was still associated with a highest cost per birth. The approximate budget impact to cover the first three indications for IVF listed above (severe male factor infertility, women with medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, and couples who wish to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy) is estimated at $9.8 to $12.8 million (Cdn). Coverage of only first two indications, namely, ICSI in patients with severe male factor infertility and infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, is estimated at $3.8 to $5.5 million Cdn.
Other Considerations
International data shows that both IVF utilization and the average number of embryos transferred in IVF cycles are influenced by IVF funding policy. The success of the SET strategy in European countries is largely due to the fact that IVF treatment is subsidized by governments.
Surveys of patients with infertility demonstrated that a significant proportion (~40%) of patients not only do not mind having multiple babies, but consider twins being an ideal outcome of infertility treatment.
A women’s age may impose some restrictions on the implementation of a SET strategy.
Conclusions and Recommendations
A review of published studies has demonstrated that IVF-SET is an effective treatment for infertility that avoids multiple pregnancies.
However, results of an Ontario-based economic analysis shows that cost savings associated with a reduction in multiple pregnancies after IVF-SET does not justify the cost of universal IVF-SET coverage by the province. Moreover, the province currently funds IUI, which has been shown to be as effective as IVF for certain types of infertility and is significantly less expensive.
In patients with severe male factor infertility, IVF in conjunction with ICSI may be the only effective treatment.
Thus, 2 indications where additional IVF access should be considered include:
IVF/ICSI for patients with severe male factor infertility
IVF-SET in infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy
PMCID: PMC3379537  PMID: 23074488
22.  Reducing the incidence of infection after caesarean section: implications of prophylaxis with antibiotics for hospital resources. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1989;299(6706):1003-1006.
OBJECTIVES--To estimate the cost effectiveness of giving prophylactic antibiotics routinely to reduce the incidence of wound infection after caesarean section. DESIGN--Estimation of cost effectiveness was based, firstly, on a retrospective overview of 58 controlled trials and, secondly, on evidence about costs derived from data and observations of practice. SETTING--Trials included in the overview were from obstetric units in several different countries, including the United Kingdom. The costing study was based on data referring to the John Radcliffe Maternity Hospital, Oxford. SUBJECTS--A total of 7777 women were included in the 58 controlled trials comparing the effects of giving routine prophylactic antibiotics at caesarean section with either treatment with a placebo or no treatment. Cost estimates were based on data on 486 women who had caesarean sections between January and September 1987. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Cost effectiveness of prophylaxis with antibiotics. RESULTS--The odds of wound infection are likely to be reduced by between about 50 and 70% by giving antibiotics routinely at caesarean section. Forty one (8.4%) women who had caesarean section were coded by the Oxford obstetric data system as having developed wound infection. The additional average cost of hospital postnatal care for women with wound infection (compared with women who had had caesarean section and no wound infection) was estimated to be 716 pounds; introducing routine prophylaxis with antibiotics would reduce average costs of postnatal care by between 1300 pounds and 3900/100 pounds caesarean sections (at 1988 prices), depending on the cost of the antibiotic used and its effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS--The results suggest that giving antibiotics routinely at caesarean section will not only reduce rates of infection after caesarean section but also reduce costs.
PMCID: PMC1837925  PMID: 2511938
23.  Preterm birth 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1404.
Preterm birth occurs in about 5% to 10% of all births in resource-rich countries, but in recent years the incidence seems to have increased in some countries, particularly in the USA. We found little reliable evidence for incidence in resource-poor countries. The rate in northwestern Ethiopia has been reported to vary from 11% to 22%, depending on the age group of mothers studied, and is highest in teenage mothers.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of preventive interventions in women at high risk of preterm delivery? What are the effects of interventions to improve neonatal outcome after preterm rupture of membranes? What are the effects of treatments to stop contractions in preterm labour? What are the effects of elective compared with selective caesarean delivery for women in preterm labour? What are the effects of interventions to improve neonatal outcome in preterm delivery? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to June 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 58 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review, we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: amnioinfusion for preterm rupture of membranes, antenatal corticosteroids, antibiotic treatment, bed rest, beta-mimetics, calcium channel blockers, elective caesarean, enhanced antenatal care programmes, magnesium sulphate, oxytocin receptor antagonists (atosiban), progesterone, prophylactic cervical cerclage, prostaglandin inhibitors (e.g., indometacin), selective caesarean, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) (plus corticosteroids).
Key Points
Around 5% to 10% of all births in resource-rich countries occur before 37 weeks' gestation, leading to increased risks of neonatal and infant death, and of neurological disability in surviving infants.
Progesterone may reduce preterm birth in women with prior preterm birth and a short cervix, but are unlikely to be beneficial and may even be harmful in women with multiple gestations.
Enhanced antenatal care programmes and bed rest have repeatedly been shown to be ineffective or harmful. Prophylactic cervical cerclage may reduce preterm births in women with cervical changes but is unlikely to be effective — and may increase infection — in women with no cervical changes or with twin pregnancies. We don't know how effective it is in women with protruding membranes.
A single course of antenatal corticosteroids reduces respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular haemorrhage, and neonatal mortality compared with placebo in babies born before 37 weeks' gestation. Adding TRH to corticosteroids has not been shown to improve outcomes compared with corticosteroids alone, and increases the risk of adverse effects.
Antibiotics may prolong the pregnancy and reduce infection after premature rupture of the membranes, but are not beneficial when the membranes are intact.
It is unclear if amnioinfusion for preterm rupture of membranes reduces preterm birth or neonatal mortality, as we found few RCTs.
Calcium channel blockers may be effective at delaying labour compared with other tocolytics. Beta-mimetics and magnesium sulphate do not prevent premature birth, and may increase fetal and maternal adverse effects compared with placebo. Oxytocin receptor antagonists (such as atosiban) and prostaglandin inhibitors (such as indometacin) may prevent preterm delivery but we cannot be certain as we found few trials.Most tocolytic therapies don't prevent perinatal mortality or morbidity, although trials of these treatments are usually underpowered to detect clinically significant differences in these outcomes.
Elective caesarean section increases maternal morbidity compared with selective caesarean section, but rates of neonatal morbidity and mortality seem equivalent.
PMCID: PMC3217816  PMID: 21463540
24.  Interventions at caesarean section for reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonitis 
Aspiration pneumonitis is a syndrome resulting from the inhalation of gastric contents. The incidence in obstetric anaesthesia has fallen, largely due to improved anaesthetic techniques and the increased use of regional anaesthesia at caesarean section. However, aspiration pneumonitis is still a cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, and it is important to use effective prophylaxis.
To determine whether interventions given prior to caesarean section reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonitis in women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (April 2009).
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials were included. Quasi-randomised trials were excluded.
Data collection and analysis
Authors independently assessed the studies for inclusion, assessed risk of bias and carried out data extraction. Data entry was checked.
Main results
Twenty-two studies, involving 2658 women, are included, all having a caesarean section under general anaesthesia. The studies covered a number of comparisons, but were mostly small and of unclear or poor quality.
When compared to no treatment or placebo, there was a significant reduction in the risk of intragastric pH < 2.5 with antacids (risk ratio (RR) 0.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09 to 0.32, two studies, 108 women), H2 antagonists (RR 0.09, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.18, two studies, 170 women) and proton pump antagonists (RR 0.26, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.46, one study 80 women). H2 antagonists were associated with a reduced the risk of intragastric pH < 2.5 at intubation when compared with proton pump antagonists (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.97, one study, 120 women), but compared with antacids the findings were unclear. The combined use of ’antacids plus H2 antagonists’ was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of intragastric pH < 2.5 at intubation when compared with placebo (RR 0.02, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.15, one study, 89 women) or compared with antacids alone (RR 0.12, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.92, one study, 119 women).
Authors’ conclusions
The quality of the evidence was poor, but the findings suggest that the combination of antacids plus H2 antagonists was more effective than no intervention, and superior to antacids alone in preventing low gastric pH. However, none of the studies assessed potential adverse effects or substantive clinical outcomes. These findings are relevant for all women undergoing caesarean section under general anaesthesia.
PMCID: PMC4063196  PMID: 20091567
*Cesarean Section; Anesthesia, General [adverse effects]; Anesthesia, Obstetrical [adverse effects]; Antacids [therapeutic use]; Antiemetics [therapeutic use]; Drug Therapy, Combination [methods]; Histamine H2 Antagonists [therapeutic use]; Metoclopramide [therapeutic use]; Pneumonia, Aspiration [*prevention & control]; Proton Pump Inhibitors [therapeutic use]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
25.  WHO Global Survey on Maternal and Perinatal Health in Latin America: classifying caesarean sections 
Reproductive Health  2009;6:18.
Caesarean section rates continue to increase worldwide with uncertain medical consequences. Auditing and analysing caesarean section rates and other perinatal outcomes in a reliable and continuous manner is critical for understanding reasons caesarean section changes over time.
We analyzed data on 97,095 women delivering in 120 facilities in 8 countries, collected as part of the 2004-2005 Global Survey on Maternal and Perinatal Health in Latin America. The objective of this analysis was to test if the "10-group" or "Robson" classification could help identify which groups of women are contributing most to the high caesarean section rates in Latin America, and if it could provide information useful for health care providers in monitoring and planning effective actions to reduce these rates.
The overall rate of caesarean section was 35.4%. Women with single cephalic pregnancy at term without previous caesarean section who entered into labour spontaneously (groups 1 and 3) represented 60% of the total obstetric population. Although women with a term singleton cephalic pregnancy with a previous caesarean section (group 5) represented only 11.4% of the obstetric population, this group was the largest contributor to the overall caesarean section rate (26.7% of all the caesarean sections). The second and third largest contributors to the overall caesarean section rate were nulliparous women with single cephalic pregnancy at term either in spontaneous labour (group 1) or induced or delivered by caesarean section before labour (group 2), which were responsible for 18.3% and 15.3% of all caesarean deliveries, respectively.
The 10-group classification could be easily applied to a multicountry dataset without problems of inconsistencies or misclassification. Specific groups of women were clearly identified as the main contributors to the overall caesarean section rate. This classification could help health care providers to plan practical and effective actions targeting specific groups of women to improve maternal and perinatal care.
PMCID: PMC2779175  PMID: 19874598

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