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1.  Postpartum Haemorrhage in Canada and France: A Population-Based Comparison 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66882.
Objective
Maternal mortality ratio due to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is higher in France than in Canada. We explored this difference by comparing PPH features between these two countries.
Methods
Using data between 2004 and 2006, we compared the incidence, risk factors, causes and use of second-line treatments, of PPH between France (N = 6,660 PPH) and Canada (N = 9,838 PPH). We assessed factors associated with PPH through multivariate logistic models.
Results
PPH incidence, overall (4.8% (95% CI 4.7–4.9) in Canada and 4.5% (95% CI 4.4–4.7) in France), and after vaginal delivery (5.3% (95%CI 5.2–5.4) in Canada and 4.8 (95%CI 4.7–4.9) in France), were significantly higher in Canada than in France, but not after caesarean delivery. Women delivering without PPH were similar between the two populations, except for macrosomia (11% in Canada, 7% in France, p<0.001), caesarean delivery (27% in Canada, 18% in France, p<0.001), and episiotomy (17% in Canada, 34% in France, p<0.001). After vaginal delivery, factors strongly associated with PPH were multiple pregnancy, operative delivery and macrosomia in both populations, and episiotomy only in France (Odds Ratio 1.39 (95% CI 1.23–1.57)). The use of second-line treatments for PPH management was significantly more frequent in France than in Canada after both vaginal and caesarean delivery.
Conclusion
PPH incidence was not higher in France than in Canada and there was no substantial difference in PPH risk factors between the 2 countries. Greater use of second-line treatments in PPH management in France suggests a more frequent failure of first-line treatments and a higher rate of severe PPH, which may be involved in the higher maternal mortality ratio due to PPH.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066882
PMCID: PMC3691240  PMID: 23826165
2.  Effect on Postpartum Hemorrhage of Prophylactic Oxytocin (10 IU) by Injection by Community Health Officers in Ghana: A Community-Based, Cluster-Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(10):e1001524.
Cynthia Stanton and colleagues conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in rural Ghana to assess whether oxytocin given by injection by community health officers at home births was a feasible and safe option in preventing postpartum hemorrhage.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Oxytocin (10 IU) is the drug of choice for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). Its use has generally been restricted to medically trained staff in health facilities. We assessed the effectiveness, safety, and feasibility of PPH prevention using oxytocin injected by peripheral health care providers without midwifery skills at home births.
Methods and Findings
This community-based, cluster-randomized trial was conducted in four rural districts in Ghana. We randomly allocated 54 community health officers (stratified on district and catchment area distance to a health facility: ≥10 km versus <10 km) to intervention (one injection of oxytocin [10 IU] one minute after birth) and control (no provision of prophylactic oxytocin) arms. Births attended by a community health officer constituted a cluster. Our primary outcome was PPH, using multiple definitions; (PPH-1) blood loss ≥500 mL; (PPH-2) PPH-1 plus women who received early treatment for PPH; and (PPH-3) PPH-2 plus any other women referred to hospital for postpartum bleeding. Unsafe practice is defined as oxytocin use before delivery of the baby. We enrolled 689 and 897 women, respectively, into oxytocin and control arms of the trial from April 2011 to November 2012. In oxytocin and control arms, respectively, PPH-1 rates were 2.6% versus 5.5% (RR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.27–0.88); PPH-2 rates were 3.8% versus 10.8% (RR: 0.35; 95% CI: 0.18–0.63), and PPH-3 rates were similar to those of PPH-2. Compared to women in control clusters, those in the intervention clusters lost 45.1 mL (17.7–72.6) less blood. There were no cases of oxytocin use before delivery of the baby and no major adverse events requiring notification of the institutional review boards. Limitations include an unblinded trial and imbalanced numbers of participants, favoring controls.
Conclusion
Maternal health care planners can consider adapting this model to extend the use of oxytocin into peripheral settings including, in some contexts, home births.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01108289
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Many women in low-and middle-income countries die unnecessarily during childbirth, even though the solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known. Maternal death rates are highest amongst poor women living in remote areas, as they are least likely to have access to adequate health care. One of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals is to reduce maternal death rates by three-quarters by 2015. Between 1990 and 2010, these rates were nearly halved. So there is still some way to go to meet the target.
One of the major causes of maternal death is excessive bleeding after birth, known as postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). The highest rates of PPH are found in Africa (28% of births), with an overall global rate of 11%. PPH can be caused by the uterus not contracting after the baby is born, damage to tissues and blood vessels, retention of the placenta, and problems with blood-clotting.
PPH can be prevented by an injection of oxytocin (a hormone) or with tablets of the drug misoprostol immediately after birth. Other drugs exist but are used much less frequently in low-income countries. If the mother does bleed excessively, then these interventions can also be used to treat PPH in the hours following birth. These drugs cause the uterus to contract. Continued severe bleeding requires emergency treatment in hospital. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that in situations where women give birth without the assistance of a trained midwife, priority should be given to preventing PPH because access to emergency services may be limited.
Why Was This Study Done?
Of the two most common options for preventing PPH, oxytocin is generally the preferred choice. It has the advantage of having no side effects, whereas misoprostol can cause fever and shivering. A repeat injection of oxytocin can also be given if the mother continues to bleed excessively, whereas a dose of misoprostol after birth should only be given once. A major concern about both drugs is that the timing of administration must be precise. Giving a drug that causes the uterus to contract before birth can be harmful to both mother and baby. A disadvantage of oxytocin is that it requires someone trained and authorized to give an injection. For this reason, oxytocin has so far been generally limited to hospitals and clinics, where it can be administered by medically trained professionals. Another disadvantage is that oxytocin is weakened by heat, which means its storage and use may be impractical in hot countries.
The main aim of this study was therefore to find out whether health workers without midwifery skills are able to administer oxytocin safely when attending home births in poor, rural communities.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers carried out a cluster-randomized controlled trial in four rural districts in Ghana, working with community health officers (CHOs). CHOs are trained for two years in giving childhood immunizations and antenatal and postnatal care, but are not trained midwives. 54 CHOs were randomized to one of two groups. The CHOs in the first group gave a preventative oxytocin injection to the mother at every birth they attended. The oxytocin was administered using a pre-filled, disposable device called Uniject that is easier and quicker to use than a syringe and needle. The packaging also included a heat-sensitive label that indicated whether the oxytocin still met the manufacturer's criteria for an acceptably potent drug. CHOs in the second group acted as controls, and did not give any oxytocin injections to prevent PPH. The women seen by each CHO formed a cluster. Comparisons were made across the clusters of women that either received or did not receive the preventative intervention.
The researchers found that the women who were given a preventative oxytocin injection lost less blood after birth than the women who did not receive a preventative injection. There were also fewer cases of PPH amongst the women who received oxytocin for PPH prevention. 2.6% of the women who received a preventative oxytocin injection experienced PPH, compared to 5.5% of the controls. Therefore the risk of PPH was approximately halved. There were no cases of oxytocin use before delivery of the baby and no difference in the frequency of other birth complications between women in the intervention and control groups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that under the trial conditions, CHOs can safely administer oxytocin injections when attending home births in poor, rural settings. This intervention also proved practical to use in the Uniject format.
The study therefore suggests that oxytocin should be considered for use in regions where maternal deaths from PPH are still unacceptably high. There are also several noteworthy limitations, such as unblinding and the imbalance between participant groups. The researchers emphasized that their findings do not mean that oxytocin is always a better choice than misoprostol for home births. Many factors will influence which intervention is the most feasible, such as the local availability of sufficiently skilled health professionals, the relative cost and availability of the two drugs, as well as ease of access to emergency health services.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001524.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by João Paulo Souza
WHO Factsheet on Maternal Mortality
United Nations Population Fund's Goals to improve sexual and reproductive health
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001524
PMCID: PMC3794862  PMID: 24130463
3.  Oxytocin during labour and risk of severe postpartum haemorrhage: a population-based, cohort-nested case–control study 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000514.
Objectives
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a major cause of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide. Experimental studies support the hypothesis that oxytocin administration during labour, a common although not evidence-based practice, may increase the risk of atonic PPH. The clinical studies, however, are inconclusive. The objectives of this study was to investigate the association between the level of oxytocin exposure during labour and the risk of severe PPH and to explore whether the prophylactic use of oxytocin after birth modifies this association.
Design
Population-based, cohort-nested case–control study.
Setting
106 French hospitals from December 2004 through November 2006.
Participants
Women with term singleton vaginal deliveries, after an uncomplicated pregnancy. Cases were 1483 women with severe PPH, defined by peripartum change in haemoglobin of ≥4 g/dl or need for blood transfusion. Controls were 1758 women from a random sample of parturients without PPH.
Main outcome measures
The independent association between the level of oxytocin during labour and the risk of severe PPH was tested and quantified with ORs through two-level multivariable logistic regression modelling.
Results
Oxytocin was administered during labour to 73% of cases and 61% of controls (crude OR: 1.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 2.0). After adjustment for all potential confounders, oxytocin during labour was associated with a significantly higher risk of severe PPH (adjusted OR: 1.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 2.6) in women who did not receive prophylactic oxytocin after delivery; the OR for haemorrhage increased from 1 to 5 according to the level of oxytocin exposure. In women who had prophylactic oxytocin after delivery, this association was significant only for the highest exposure categories.
Conclusions
Oxytocin during labour appears to be an independent risk factor for severe PPH. The results emphasise the need for guidelines clarifying the evidence-based indications for this procedure and the minimal useful regimens.
Article summary
Article focus
Postpartum haemorrhage is the main component of maternal morbidity, and increase in its incidence is reported.
Experimental studies support the hypothesis that oxytocin administration during labour, a common although not evidence-based practice, may increase the risk of atonic postpartum haemorrhage.
The clinical studies, however, are inconclusive.
Key messages
In this study, oxytocin during labour appears to be an independent risk factor for severe Postpartum haemorrhage, with a dose-related association.
Our results emphasise the need for guidelines clarifying the evidence-based indications for this procedure and the minimal useful regimens.
Strengths and limitations
Source population: large population-based cohort; representativity of cases and controls.
Detailed data on oxytocin administration during labour collected from medical files.
Detailed data on potential confounders.
Inherent limitation of observational studies: residual confounding cannot be excluded, although all potential confounders were taken into account.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000514
PMCID: PMC3334825  PMID: 22189353
4.  Trends in postpartum hemorrhage in high resource countries: a review and recommendations from the International Postpartum Hemorrhage Collaborative Group 
Background
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is a major cause of maternal mortality and morbidity worldwide. Several recent publications have noted an increasing trend in incidence over time. The international PPH collaboration was convened to explore the observed trends and to set out actions to address the factors identified.
Methods
We reviewed available data sources on the incidence of PPH over time in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the USA. Where information was available, the incidence of PPH was stratified by cause.
Results
We observed an increasing trend in PPH, using heterogeneous definitions, in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. The observed increase in PPH in Australia, Canada and the USA was limited solely to immediate/atonic PPH. We noted increasing rates of severe adverse outcomes due to hemorrhage in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA.
Conclusion
Key Recommendations
1. Future revisions of the International Classification of Diseases should include separate codes for atonic PPH and PPH immediately following childbirth that is due to other causes. Also, additional codes are required for placenta accreta/percreta/increta.
2. Definitions of PPH should be unified; further research is required to investigate how definitions are applied in practice to the coding of data.
3. Additional improvement in the collection of data concerning PPH is required, specifically including a measure of severity.
4. Further research is required to determine whether an increased rate of reported PPH is also observed in other countries, and to further investigate potential risk factors including increased duration of labor, obesity and changes in second and third stage management practice.
5. Training should be provided to all staff involved in maternity care concerning assessment of blood loss and the monitoring of women after childbirth. This is key to reducing the severity of PPH and preventing any adverse outcomes.
6. Clinicians should be more vigilant given the possibility that the frequency and severity of PPH has in fact increased. This applies particularly to small hospitals with relatively few deliveries where management protocols may not be defined adequately and drugs or equipment may not be on hand to deal with unexpected severe PPH.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-55
PMCID: PMC2790440  PMID: 19943928
5.  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.
Background
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).
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001192.
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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001192
PMCID: PMC3302845  PMID: 22427749
6.  Epidemiological investigation of a temporal increase in atonic postpartum haemorrhage: a population-based retrospective cohort study 
Bjog  2013;120(7):853-862.
Objective
Increases in atonic postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) have been reported from several countries in recent years. We attempted to determine the potential cause of the increase in atonic and severe atonic PPH.
Design
Population-based retrospective cohort study.
Setting
British Columbia, Canada, 2001–2009.
Population
All women with live births or stillbirths.
Methods
Detailed clinical information was obtained for 371 193 women from the British Columbia Perinatal Data Registry. Outcomes of interest were atonic PPH and severe atonic PPH (atonic PPH with blood transfusion ≥1 unit; atonic PPH with blood transfusion ≥3 units or procedures to control bleeding), whereas determinants studied included maternal characteristics (e.g. age, parity, and body mass index) and obstetrics practice factors (e.g. labour induction, augmentation, and caesarean delivery). Year-specific unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios for the outcomes were compared using logistic regression.
Main outcome measures
Atonic PPH and severe atonic PPH.
Results
Atonic PPH increased from 4.8% in 2001 to 6.3% in 2009, atonic PPH with blood transfusion ≥1 unit increased from 16.6 in 2001 to 25.5 per 10 000 deliveries in 2009, and atonic PPH with blood transfusion ≥3 units or procedures to control bleeding increased from 11.9 to 17.6 per 10 000 deliveries. The crude 34% (95% CI 26–42%) increase in atonic PPH between 2001 and 2009 remained unchanged (42% increase, 95% CI 34–51%) after adjustment for determinants of PPH. Similarly, adjustment did not explain the increase in severe atonic PPH.
Conclusions
Changes in maternal characteristics and obstetric practice do not explain the recent increase in atonic and severe atonic PPH.
doi:10.1111/1471-0528.12149
PMCID: PMC3717179  PMID: 23464351
Atonic postpartum haemorrhage; postpartum haemorrhage; severe maternal morbidity; uterine atony
7.  Reporting errors, incidence and risk factors for postpartum haemorrhage and progression to severe PPH: a prospective observational study 
Bjog  2014;121(7):876-888.
Objective
To quantify reporting errors, measure incidence of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and define risk factors for PPH (≥500 ml) and progression to severe PPH (≥1500 ml).
Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting
Two UK maternity services.
Population
Women giving birth between 1 August 2008 and 31 July 2009 (n = 10 213).
Methods
Weighted sampling with sequential adjustment by multivariate analysis.
Main outcome measures
Incidence and risk factors for PPH and progression to severe PPH.
Results
Errors in transcribing blood volume were frequent (14%) with evidence of threshold preference and avoidance. The incidences of PPH ≥500, ≥1500 and ≥2500 ml were 33.7% (95% CI 31.2–36.2), 3.9% (95% CI 3.3–4.6) and 0.8% (95% CI 0.6–1.0). New independent risk factors predicting PPH ≥ 500 ml included Black African ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.77, 95% CI 1.31–2.39) and assisted conception (aOR 2.93, 95% CI 1.30–6.59). Modelling demonstrated how prepregnancy- and pregnancy-acquired factors may be mediated through intrapartum events, including caesarean section, elective (aOR 24.4, 95% CI 5.53–108.00) or emergency (aOR 40.5, 95% CI 16.30–101.00), and retained placenta (aOR 21.3, 95% CI 8.31–54.7). New risk factors were identified for progression to severe PPH, including index of multiple deprivation (education, skills and training) (aOR 1.75, 95% CI 1.11–2.74), multiparity without caesarean section (aOR 1.65, 95% CI 1.20–2.28) and administration of steroids for fetal reasons (aOR 2.00, 95% CI 1.24–3.22).
Conclusions
Sequential, interacting, traditional and new risk factors explain the highest rates of PPH and severe PPH reported to date.
doi:10.1111/1471-0528.12588
PMCID: PMC4282054  PMID: 24517180
Blood loss; observational study; pregnancy; progression; risk factors; severe adverse maternal morbidity
8.  Incidence of postpartum haemorrhage in women receiving therapeutic doses of low-molecular-weight heparin: results of a retrospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000257.
Background
Low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) is the drug of choice to prevent venous thrombosis in pregnancy, but the optimal dose for prevention while avoiding bleeding is unclear. This study investigated whether therapeutic doses of LMWH increase the incidence of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) in a retrospective controlled cohort.
Methods
All pregnant women who received therapeutic doses of LMWH between 1995 and 2008 were identified in the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The controls were women registered for antenatal care in the same hospital who did not use LMWH during pregnancy, matched by random electronic selection for age, parity and delivery date to LMWH users. The incidence of PPH (blood loss >500 ml), severe PPH (blood loss >1000 ml) and median blood loss were compared in two cohorts of LMWH users and non-users.
Results
The incidence of PPH was 18% in LMWH users (N=95) and 22% in non-users (N=524) (RR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5 to 1.4). The incidence of severe PPH was 6% in both groups (RR 1.2; 0.5 to 2.9). The median amount of blood loss differed only in normal vaginal deliveries. It was 200 ml in LMWH users and 300 ml in non-users (difference −100 ml; 95% CI −156 to −44).
Conclusion
Therapeutic doses of LMWH in pregnancy were observed not to be associated with a clinically meaningful increase in the incidence of PPH or severe PPH in women delivered in this hospital, although this observation may be confounded by the differential use of strategies to prevent bleeding. A randomised controlled trial is necessary to provide a definite answer about the optimal dose of LMWH in pregnancy.
Article summary
Article focus
To compare the incidence of PPH (ie, blood loss >500 ml in the first 24 h of delivery) in two cohorts of pregnant women who were treated with therapeutic doses of LMWH and those who were not.
To compare the incidence of severe PPH (blood loss >1000 ml) in two cohorts of pregnant women who were treated with therapeutic doses of LMWH and those who were not.
To compare the median blood loss in two cohorts of pregnant women who were treated with therapeutic doses of LMWH and those who were not.
Key message
Therapeutic doses of LMWH in pregnancy were not associated with a clinically meaningful increase in the incidence of PPH (RR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5 to 1.4) or severe PPH (RR 1.2; 0.5 to 2.9) in women delivered in our hospital.
The median amount of blood loss differed only in normal vaginal deliveries. It was lower in LMWH users (200 ml) than in non-users (300 ml) (difference −100 ml; 95% CI −156 to −44).
Strength and limitation of this study
This is the largest cohort of pregnancies treated with high doses of LMWH.
Although this was a controlled cohort study, it is likely that strategies to decrease the risk of PPH differed between women who were treated with LMWH and controls.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000257
PMCID: PMC3221289  PMID: 22102641
9.  Effect of Body Mass Index on pregnancy outcomes in nulliparous women delivering singleton babies 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:168.
Background
The increasing prevalence of obesity in young women is a major public health concern. These trends have a major impact on pregnancy outcomes in these women, which have been documented by several researchers. In a population based cohort study, using routinely collected data, this paper examines the effect of increasing Body Mass Index (BMI) on pregnancy outcomes in nulliparous women delivering singleton babies.
Methods
This was a retrospective cohort study, based on all nulliparous women delivering singleton babies in Aberdeen between 1976 and 2005. Women were categorized into five groups – underweight (BMI < 20 Kg/m2), normal (BMI 20 – 24.9 Kg/m2) overweight (BMI 25 – 29.9 Kg/m2), obese (BMI 30 – 34.9 Kg/m2) and morbidly obese (BMI > 35 Kg/m2). Obstetric and perinatal outcomes were compared by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
In comparison with women of BMI 20 – 24.9, morbidly obese women faced the highest risk of pre-eclampsia {OR 7.2 (95% CI 4.7, 11.2)} and underweight women the lowest {OR 0.6 (95% CI 0.5, 0.7)}. Induced labour was highest in the morbidly obese {OR 1.8 (95% CI 1.3, 2.5)} and lowest in underweight women {OR 0.8 (95% CI 0.8, 0.9)}. Emergency Caesarean section rates were highest in the morbidly obese {OR 2.8 (95% CI 2.0, 3.9)}, and comparable in women with normal and low BMI. Obese women were more likely to have postpartum haemorrhage {OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.3, 1.7)} and preterm delivery (< 33 weeks) {OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.3, 2.9)}. Birthweights less than 2,500 g were more common in underweight women {OR 1.7 (95% OR 1.2, 2.0)}. The highest risk of birth weights > 4,000 g was in the morbidly obese {OR 2.1 (95% CI 1.3, 3.2)} and the lowest in underweight women {OR 0.5 (95% CI 0.4, 0.6)}.
Conclusion
Increasing BMI is associated with increased incidence of pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, macrosomia, induction of labour and caesarean delivery; while underweight women had better pregnancy outcomes than women with normal BMI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-168
PMCID: PMC1940246  PMID: 17650297
10.  Elevated maternal lipids in early pregnancy are not associated with risk of intrapartum caesarean in overweight and obese nulliparous women 
Background
Maternal overweight and obesity are associated with slower labour progress and increased caesarean delivery for failure to progress. Obesity is also associated with hyperlipidaemia and cholesterol inhibits myometrial contractility in vitro. Our aim was, among overweight and obese nulliparous women, to investigate 1. the role of early pregnancy serum cholesterol and 2. clinical risk factors associated with first stage caesarean for failure to progress at term.
Methods
Secondary data analysis from a prospective cohort of overweight/obese New Zealand and Australian nullipara recruited to the SCOPE study. Women who laboured at term and delivered vaginally (n=840) or required first stage caesarean for failure to progress (n=196) were included. Maternal characteristics and serum cholesterol at 14–16 weeks’ of gestation were compared according to delivery mode in univariable and multivariable analyses (adjusted for BMI, maternal age and height, obstetric care type, induction of labour and gestation at delivery ≥41 weeks).
Results
Total cholesterol at 14–16 weeks was not higher among women requiring first stage caesarean for failure to progress compared to those with vaginal delivery (5.55 ± 0.92 versus 5.67 ± 0.85 mmol/L, p= 0.10 respectively). Antenatal risk factors for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight and obese women were BMI (adjusted odds ratio [aOR (95% CI)] 1.15 (1.07-1.22) per 5 unit increase, maternal age 1.37 (1.17-1.61) per 5 year increase, height 1.09 (1.06-1.12) per 1cm reduction), induction of labour 1.94 (1.38-2.73) and prolonged pregnancy ≥41 weeks 1.64 (1.14-2.35).
Conclusions
Elevated maternal cholesterol in early pregnancy is not a risk factor for first stage caesarean for failure to progress in overweight/obese women. Other clinically relevant risk factors identified are: increasing maternal BMI, increasing maternal age, induction of labour and prolonged pregnancy ≥41 weeks’ of gestation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-143
PMCID: PMC3711839  PMID: 23835080
Cholesterol; Antenatal; Delivery; Obesity; Labour
11.  A prospective cohort study of the morbidity associated with operative vaginal deliveries performed by day and at night 
BMJ Open  2014;4(10):e006291.
Objective
To evaluate maternal and neonatal outcomes associated with operative vaginal deliveries (OVDs) performed by day and at night.
Design
Prospective cohort study.
Setting
Urban maternity unit in Ireland with off-site consultant staff at night.
Population
All nulliparous women requiring an OVD with a term singleton fetus in a cephalic presentation from February to November 2013.
Methods
Delivery outcomes were compared for women who delivered by day (08:00–19:59) or at night (20:00–07:59).
Main outcome measures
The main outcomes included postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), anal sphincter tear and neonatal unit admission. Procedural factors included operator grade, sequential use of instruments and caesarean section.
Results
Of the 597 women who required an OVD, 296 (50%) delivered at night. Choice of instrument, place of delivery, sequential use of instruments and caesarean section did not differ significantly in relation to time of birth. Mid-grade operators performed less OVDs by day than at night, OR 0.60 (95% CI 0.43 to 0.83), and a consultant supervisor was more frequently present by day, OR 2.26 (95% CI 1.05 to 4.83). Shoulder dystocia occurred more commonly by day, OR 2.57 (95% CI 1.05 to 6.28). The incidence of PPH, anal sphincter tears, neonatal unit admission, fetal acidosis and neonatal trauma was similar by day and at night. The mean decision to delivery intervals were 12.0 and 12.6 min, respectively.
Conclusions
There was no evidence of an association between time of OVD and adverse perinatal outcomes despite off-site consultant obstetric support at night.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006291
PMCID: PMC4216855  PMID: 25354825
operative vaginal delivery; time of birth; operator experience; prospective cohort study; morbidity
12.  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.
Background
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).
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001184.
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
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001184
PMCID: PMC3302846  PMID: 22427745
13.  The FIB-PPH trial: fibrinogen concentrate as initial treatment for postpartum haemorrhage: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:110.
Background
Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) remains a leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. In Denmark 2% of parturients receive blood transfusion. During the course of bleeding fibrinogen (coagulation factor I) may be depleted and fall to critically low levels, impairing haemostasis and thus worsening the ongoing bleeding. A plasma level of fibrinogen below 2 g/L in the early phase of postpartum haemorrhage is associated with subsequent development of severe haemorrhage. Use of fibrinogen concentrate allows high-dose substitution without the need for blood type crossmatch. So far no publications of randomised controlled trials involving acutely bleeding patients in the obstetrical setting have been published. This trial aims to investigate if early treatment with fibrinogen concentrate reduces the need for blood transfusion in women suffering severe PPH.
Methods/Design
In this randomised placebo-controlled double-blind multicentre trial, parturients with primary PPH are eligible following vaginal delivery in case of: manual removal of placenta (blood loss ≥ 500 ml) or manual exploration of the uterus after the birth of placenta (blood loss ≥ 1000 ml). Caesarean sections are also eligible in case of perioperative blood loss ≥ 1000 ml. The exclusion criteria are known inherited haemostatic deficiencies, prepartum treatment with antithrombotics, pre-pregnancy weight <45 kg or refusal to receive blood transfusion. Following informed consent, patients are randomly allocated to either early treatment with 2 g fibrinogen concentrate or 100 ml isotonic saline (placebo). Haemostatic monitoring with standard laboratory coagulation tests and thromboelastography (TEG, functional fibrinogen and Rapid TEG) is performed during the initial 24 hours.
Primary outcome is the need for blood transfusion. To investigate a 33% reduction in the need for blood transfusion, a total of 245 patients will be included. Four university-affiliated public tertiary care hospitals will include patients during a two-year period. Adverse events including thrombosis are assessed in accordance with International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) good clinical practice (GCP).
Discussion
A widespread belief in the benefits of early fibrinogen substitution in cases of PPH has led to increased off-label use. The FIB-PPH trial is investigator-initiated and aims to provide an evidence-based platform for the recommendations of the early use of fibrinogen concentrate in PPH.
Trial registration
ClincialTrials.gov NCT01359878.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-110
PMCID: PMC3434105  PMID: 22805300
Postpartum haemorrhage; Haemostasis; Blood transfusion; Fibrinogen concentrate; Obstetrics; Thrombelastography; Coagulation
14.  Postpartum hemorrhage resulting from uterine atony after vaginal delivery: factors associated with severity 
Obstetrics and Gynecology  2011;117(1):21-31.
Objective
To identify factors associated with severity of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) among characteristics of women and their delivery, the components of initial PPH management, and the organizational characteristics of maternity units.
Methods
This population-based cohort study included women with PPH due to uterine atony after vaginal delivery in 106 French hospitals between November 2004 and October 2006 (N=4,550). Severe PPH was defined by a peripartum change in hemoglobin (Δ[Hgb]) of 4 g/dL or more. A multivariable logistic model was used to identify factors independently associated with PPH severity.
Results
Severe PPH occurred in 952 women (20.9%). In women with PPH, factors independently associated with severity were: primiparity, previous PPH, previous cesarean delivery, cervical ripening, prolonged labor, and episiotomy; delay in initial care for PPH and specifically, administration of oxytocin more than 10 minutes after PPH diagnosis (10–20 minutes after, adjusted OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.03–1.85; more than 20 minutes after, 1.86, CI 1.45–2.38), manual examination of the uterine cavity more than 20 minutes after (adjusted OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.42–2.35), call for additional assistance more than 10 minutes after (adjusted OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.23–2.12 for an obstetrician and 1.51, 95% CI 1.14–2.00 for an anesthesiologist); and delivery in a public non-university hospital. Epidural analgesia was found to be a protective factor against severe blood loss in women with PPH.
Conclusion
Aspects of labor, delivery, and their management, delay in initial care, and place of delivery are independent risk factors for severe blood loss in women with PPH caused by atony.
doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e318202c845
PMCID: PMC3319503  PMID: 21173641
15.  Sublingual Misoprostol versus Intramuscular Oxytocin for Prevention of Postpartum Hemorrhage in Uganda: A Double-Blind Randomized Non-Inferiority Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(11):e1001752.
In a double-blind randomized controlled trial, Esther Atukunda and colleagues evaluated whether sublingual misoprostol administered to women in labor was non-inferior to intramuscular oxytocin in preventing postpartum hemorrhage and reducing blood loss.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal death in sub-Saharan Africa. Although the World Health Organization recommends use of oxytocin for prevention of PPH, misoprostol use is increasingly common owing to advantages in shelf life and potential for sublingual administration. There is a lack of data about the comparative efficacy of oxytocin and sublingual misoprostol, particularly at the recommended dose of 600 µg, for prevention of PPH during active management of labor.
Methods and Findings
We performed a double-blind, double-dummy randomized controlled non-inferiority trial between 23 September 2012 and 9 September 2013 at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. We randomized 1,140 women to receive 600 µg of misoprostol sublingually or 10 IU of oxytocin intramuscularly, along with matching placebos for the treatment they did not receive. Our primary outcome of interest was PPH, defined as measured blood loss ≥500 ml within 24 h of delivery. Secondary outcomes included measured blood loss ≥1,000 ml; mean measured blood loss at 1, 2, and 24 h after delivery; death; requirement for blood transfusion; hemoglobin changes; and use of additional uterotonics.
At 24 h postpartum, primary PPH occurred in 163 (28.6%) participants in the misoprostol group and 99 (17.4%) participants in the oxytocin group (relative risk [RR] 1.64, 95% CI 1.32 to 2.05, p<0.001; absolute risk difference 11.2%, 95% CI 6.44 to 16.1). Severe PPH occurred in 20 (3.6%) and 15 (2.7%) participants in the misoprostol and oxytocin groups, respectively (RR 1.33, 95% CI 0.69 to 2.58, p = 0.391; absolute risk difference 0.9%, 95% CI −1.12 to 2.88). Mean measured blood loss was 341.5 ml (standard deviation [SD] 206.2) and 304.2 ml (SD 190.8, p = 0.002) at 2 h and 484.7 ml (SD 213.3) and 432.8 ml (SD 203.5, p<0.001) at 24 h in the misoprostol and oxytocin groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between the two groups in any other secondary outcomes. Women in the misoprostol group more commonly experienced shivering (RR 1.91, 95% CI 1.65 to 2.21, p<0.001) and fevers (RR 5.20, 95% CI 3.15 to 7.21, p = 0.005).
This study was conducted at a regional referral hospital with capacity for emergency surgery and blood transfusion. High-risk women were excluded from participation.
Conclusions
Misoprostol 600 µg is inferior to oxytocin 10 IU for prevention of primary PPH in active management of labor. These data support use of oxytocin in settings where it is available. While not powered to do so, the study found no significant differences in rate of severe PPH, need for blood transfusion, postpartum hemoglobin, change in hemoglobin, or use of additional uterotonics between study groups. Further research should focus on clarifying whether and in which sub-populations use of oxytocin would be preferred over sublingual misoprostol.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01866241
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, worldwide nearly 290,000 women die during pregnancy or labor or during the first six weeks after giving birth (the postpartum period). Almost all of these “maternal” deaths occur in low- or middle-income countries, and most are caused by a handful of preventable or treatable conditions—postpartum hemorrhage (severe bleeding from the uterus [womb] within 24 hours of childbirth), post-delivery infections, unsafe abortion, obstructive (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy. The leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide is postpartum hemorrhage, which is responsible for 25%–30% of all maternal deaths. Postpartum hemorrhage can be prevented by giving the mother an intramuscular injection of oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates uterine contractions and limits uterine bleeding, immediately after her child is born.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, oxytocin needs to be kept cool, which limits its use in low- and middle-income countries, and, until recently, it was thought that only trained personnel could give intramuscular injections. Consequently, administration of misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin that has effects similar to those of oxytocin, has been proposed as an alternative way to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in resource-limited settings. Misoprostol is stable at room temperature, and because it can be given sublingually (beneath the tongue), it acts very quickly. However, the comparative efficacy of sublingual misoprostol and intramuscular oxytocin for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage has not been established. Here, the researchers undertake a double-blinded, double-dummy randomized controlled non-inferiority trial to compare sublingual misoprostol and intramuscular oxytocin for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage in Uganda, a country where there are more than 5,500 maternal deaths every year. A randomized controlled trial compares the outcomes of individuals assigned to different interventions through the play of chance. In a double-blinded trial, neither the researchers nor the participants know who is receiving which intervention. In this particular trial, double-blinding is achieved by giving a dummy (placebo) sublingual pill to the women assigned to the oxytocin group and a dummy injection to the women assigned to the misoprostol group, as well as their assigned treatments. A non-inferiority trial investigates whether one treatment is not worse than another treatment.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured blood loss over the first 24 hours after delivery in 1,140 women admitted to a regional referral hospital in Uganda. The women were given either sublingual misoprostol or intramuscular oxytocin at the currently recommended doses, along with matching placebos, immediately after the birth of their child. Postpartum hemorrhage (defined as the loss of more than 500 ml of blood within 24 hours of delivery; the trial's primary outcome) occurred in 28.6% and 17.4% of the women in the misoprostol and oxytocin groups, respectively (an absolute risk difference of 11.2%). Severe postpartum hemorrhage (loss of more than 1,000 ml of blood within 24 hours of delivery) occurred in 3.6% and 2.7% of participants in the misoprostol and oxytocin groups, respectively, but this difference was not statistically significant (it could have happened by chance). On average, women given misoprostol had lost slightly more blood by two and 24 hours after delivery than those given oxytocin. There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of death, the need for blood transfusion, or the use of additional drugs to prevent blood loss, but women given misoprostol experienced shivering and fever more often than those given oxytocin.
What Do These Findings Mean?
In their study protocol, the researchers specified that sublingual misoprostol would be deemed non-inferior to intramuscular oxytocin if the absolute risk difference for postpartum hemorrhage between the misoprostol and oxytocin treatment groups was less than 6% (the “non-inferiority” margin). These findings therefore indicate that sublingual misoprostol given at the recommended dose is inferior to intramuscular oxytocin for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage in women undergoing an uncomplicated birth at a regional referral hospital in Uganda. Although several aspects of this study may affect the accuracy and generalizability of its findings (for example, women at high risk of birth complications were excluded from the study), the researchers conclude that oxytocin should remain the preferred agent for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage where it is available. However, they note, sublingual misoprostol remains important for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage where oxytocin is unavailable or its administration is not feasible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001752.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality; “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2013” is a recent WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank publication that provides up-to-date information on maternal mortality worldwide
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health (in several languages)
The Postpartum Hemorrhage Prevention and Treatment Website provides a forum for information sharing and learning between organizations and individuals working on the prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage in developing countries; the website includes basic information about postpartum hemorrhage and links to additional resources
“Veil of Tears” contains personal stories (including stories about postpartum hemorrhage) from Afghanistan about loss in childbirth
“Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis” is a briefing paper published by Médecins Sans Frontières in 2012
More information about this trial is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001752
PMCID: PMC4219663  PMID: 25369200
16.  Clinical audit: a useful tool for reducing severe postpartum haemorrhages? 
Objective
Reducing the rate of severe postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a major challenge in obstetrics today. One potentially effective tool for improving the quality of care is the clinical audit, that is, peer evaluation and comparison of actual practices against explicit criteria. Our objective was to assess the impact of regular criteria-based audits on the prevalence of severe PPH.
Design
Quasi-experimental before-and-after survey
Setting
Two French maternity units in the Rhône-Alpes region, with different organisation of care.
Participants
All staff of both units.
Intervention
Quarterly clinical audit meetings at which a team of reviewers analysed all cases of severe PPH and provided feedback on quality of care and where all staff actively participated.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was the prevalence of severe PPH. Secondary outcomes included the global quality of care for women with severe PPH, including the performance rate for each recommended procedure. Differences in these variables between 2005 and 2008 were tested.
Results
The prevalence of severe PPH declined significantly in both units, from 1.52% to 0.96% of deliveries in the level III hospital (p=0.048) and from 2.08% to 0.57% in the level II hospital (p<0.001). From 2005 to 2008, the proportion of deliveries with severe PPH that were managed consistently with the guidelines increased for all of its main components, in both units.
Conclusion
Regular clinical audits of cases severe PPH were associated with a persistent reduction in the prevalence of severe PPH.
doi:10.1093/intqhc/mzr042
PMCID: PMC3428268  PMID: 21733978
Clinical Audit; methods; standards; Female; France; epidemiology; Humans; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Postpartum Hemorrhage; epidemiology; prevention & control; Pregnancy; Prevalence; Quality Assurance, Health Care; methods; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
17.  Misoprostol in addition to routine treatment of postpartum hemorrhage: A hospital-based randomized-controlled trial in Karachi, Pakistan 
Background
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) remains a major killer of women worldwide. Standard uterotonic treatments used to control postpartum bleeding do not always work and are not always available. Misoprostol's potential as a treatment option for PPH is increasingly known, but its use remains ad hoc and available evidence does not support the safety or efficacy of one particular regimen. This study aimed to determine the adjunct benefit of misoprostol when combined with standard oxytocics for PPH treatment.
Methods
A randomized controlled trial was conducted in four Karachi hospitals from December 2005 – April 2007 to assess the benefit of a 600 mcg dose of misoprostol given sublingually in addition to standard oxytocics for postpartum hemorrhage treatment. Consenting women had their blood loss measured after normal vaginal delivery and were enrolled in the study after losing more than 500 ml of blood. Women were randomly assigned to receive either 600 mcg sublingual misoprostol or matching placebo in addition to standard PPH treatment with injectable oxytocics. Both women and providers were blinded to the treatment assignment. Blood loss was collected until active bleeding stopped and for a minimum of one hour after PPH diagnosis. Total blood loss, hemoglobin measures, and treatment outcomes were recorded for all participants.
Results
Due to a much lower rate of PPH than expected (1.2%), only sixty-one patients were diagnosed and treated for their PPH in this study, and we were therefore unable to measure statistical significance in any of the primary endpoints. The addition of 600 mcg sublingual misoprostol to standard PPH treatments does, however, suggest a trend in reduced postpartum blood loss, a smaller drop in postpartum hemoglobin, and need for fewer additional interventions. Women who bled less overall had a significantly smaller drop in hemoglobin and received fewer additional interventions. There were no hysterectomies or maternal deaths among study participants. The rate of transient shivering and fever was significantly higher among women receiving misoprostol
Conclusion
A 600 mcg dose of misoprostol given sublingually shows promise as an adjunct treatment for PPH and its use should continue to be explored for its life-saving potential in the care of women experiencing PPH.
Trial Registration
Clinical trials.gov, Registry No. NCT00116480
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-8-40
PMCID: PMC2529259  PMID: 18718007
18.  Effects of caesarean section on maternal health in low risk nulliparous women: a prospective matched cohort study in Shanghai, China 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-78
PMCID: PMC3014869  PMID: 21122153
19.  Trends in adverse maternal outcomes during childbirth: a population-based study of severe maternal morbidity 
Background
Maternal mortality is too rare in high income countries to be used as a marker of the quality of maternity care. Consequently severe maternal morbidity has been suggested as a better indicator. Using the maternal morbidity outcome indicator (MMOI) developed and validated for use in routinely collected population health data, we aimed to determine trends in severe adverse maternal outcomes during the birth admission and in particular to examine the contribution of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH).
Methods
We applied the MMOI to the linked birth-hospital discharge records for all women who gave birth in New South Wales, Australia from 1999 to 2004 and determined rates of severe adverse maternal outcomes. We used frequency distributions and contingency table analyses to examine the association between adverse outcomes and maternal, pregnancy and birth characteristics, among all women and among only those with PPH. Using logistic regression, we modelled the effects of these characteristics on adverse maternal outcomes. The impact of adverse outcomes on duration of hospital admission was also examined.
Results
Of 500,603 women with linked birth and hospital records, 6242 (12.5 per 1,000) suffered an adverse outcome, including 22 who died. The rate of adverse maternal outcomes increased from 11.5 in 1999 to 13.8 per 1000 deliveries in 2004, an annual increase of 3.8% (95%CI 2.3–5.3%). This increase occurred almost entirely among women with a PPH. Changes in pregnancy and birth factors during the study period did not account for increases in adverse outcomes either overall, or among the subgroup of women with PPH. Among women with severe adverse outcomes there was a 12% decrease in hospital days over the study period, whereas women with no severe adverse outcome occupied 23% fewer hospital days in 2004 than in 1999.
Conclusion
Severe adverse maternal outcomes associated with childbirth have increased in Australia and the increase was entirely among women who experienced a PPH. Reducing or stabilising PPH rates would halt the increase in adverse maternal outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-7
PMCID: PMC2653462  PMID: 19243578
20.  Maternal Overweight and Obesity and Risks of Severe Birth-Asphyxia-Related Complications in Term Infants: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Sweden 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001648.
Martina Persson and colleagues use a Swedish national database to investigate the association between maternal body mass index in early pregnancy and severe asphyxia-related outcomes in infants delivered at term.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Maternal overweight and obesity increase risks of pregnancy and delivery complications and neonatal mortality, but the mechanisms are unclear. The objective of the study was to investigate associations between maternal body mass index (BMI) in early pregnancy and severe asphyxia-related outcomes in infants delivered at term (≥37 weeks).
Methods and Findings
A nation-wide Swedish cohort study based on data from the Medical Birth Register included all live singleton term births in Sweden between 1992 and 2010. Logistic regression analyses were used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs for Apgar scores between 0 and 3 at 5 and 10 minutes, meconium aspiration syndrome, and neonatal seizures, adjusted for maternal height, maternal age, parity, mother's smoking habits, education, country of birth, and year of infant birth. Among 1,764,403 term births, 86% had data on early pregnancy BMI and Apgar scores. There were 1,380 infants who had Apgar score 0–3 at 5 minutes (absolute risk  = 0.8 per 1,000) and 894 had Apgar score 0–3 at 10 minutes (absolute risk  = 0.5 per 1,000). Compared with infants of mothers with normal BMI (18.5–24.9), the adjusted ORs (95% CI) for Apgar scores 0–3 at 10 minutes were as follows: BMI 25–29.9: 1.32 (1.10–1.58); BMI 30–34.9: 1.57 (1.20–2.07); BMI 35–39.9: 1.80 (1.15–2.82); and BMI ≥40: 3.41 (1.91–6.09). The ORs for Apgar scores 0–3 at 5 minutes, meconium aspiration, and neonatal seizures increased similarly with maternal BMI. A study limitation was lack of data on effects of obstetric interventions and neonatal resuscitation efforts.
Conclusion
Risks of severe asphyxia-related outcomes in term infants increase with maternal overweight and obesity. Given the high prevalence of the exposure and the severity of the outcomes studied, the results are of potential public health relevance and should be confirmed in other populations. Prevention of overweight and obesity in women of reproductive age is important to improve perinatal health.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Economic, technologic, and lifestyle changes over the past 30 years have created an abundance of cheap, accessible, high-calorie food. Combined with fewer demands for physical activity, this situation has lead to increasing body mass throughout most of the world. Consequently, being overweight or obese is much more common in many high-income and low-and middle-income countries compared to 1980. Worldwide estimates put the percentage of overweight or obese adults as increasing by over 10%, between 1980 and 2008.
As being overweight becomes a global epidemic, its prevalence in women of reproductive age has also increased. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese are a cause for concern because of the possible associated health risks to both the infant and mother. Research is necessary to more clearly define these risks.
Why Was This Study Done?
In this study, the researchers investigated the complications associated with excess maternal weight that could hinder an infant from obtaining enough oxygen during delivery (neonatal asphyxia). All fetuses experience a loss of oxygen during contractions, however, a prolonged loss of oxygen can impact an infant's long-term development. To explore this risk, the researchers relied on a universal scoring system known as the Apgar score. An Apgar score is routinely recorded at one, five, and ten minutes after birth and is calculated from an assessment of heart rate, respiratory effort, and color, along with reflexes and muscle tone. An oxygen deficit during delivery will have an impact on the score. A normal score is in the range of 7–10. Body mass index (BMI) a calculation that uses height and weight, was used to assess the weight status (i.e., normal, overweight, obese) of the mother during pregnancy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using the Swedish medical birth registry (a database including nearly all the births occurring in Sweden since 1973) the researchers selected records for single births that took place between 1992 to 2010. The registry also incorporates prenatal care data and researchers further selected for records that included weight and height measurement taken during the first prenatal visit. BMI was calculated using the weight and height measurement. Based on BMI ranges that define weight groups as normal, overweight, and obesity grades I, II, and III, the researchers analyzed and compared the number of low Apgar scoring infants (Apgar 0–3) in each group. Mothers with normal weight gave birth to the majority of infants with Apgar 0–3. In comparison the proportion of low Apgar scores were greater in babies of overweight and obese mothers. The researchers found that the rates of low Apgar scores increased with maternal BMI: the authors found that rates of low Apgar score at 5 minutes increased from 0.4 per 1,000 among infants of underweight women (BMI <18.5) to 2.4 per 1,000 among infants of women with obesity class III (BMI ≥40). Furthermore, overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9) was associated with a 55% increased risk of low Apgar scores at 5 minutes; obesity grade I (BMI 30–34.9) and grade II (BMI 35.0–39.9) with an almost 2-fold and a more than 2-fold increased risk, respectively; and obesity grade ΙΙΙ (BMI ≥40.0) with a more than 3-fold increase in risk. Finally, maternal overweight and obesity also increase the risks for seizures and meconium aspiration in the neonate.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the risk of experiencing an oxygen deficit increases for the babies of women who are overweight or obese. Given the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in many countries worldwide, these findings are important and suggest that preventing women of reproductive age from becoming overweight or obese is therefore important to the health of their children.
A limitation of this study is the lack of data on the effects of clinical interventions and neonatal resuscitation efforts that may have been performed at the time of birth. Also Apgar scoring is based on five variables and a low score is not the most direct way to determine if the infant has experienced an oxygen deficit. However, these findings suggest that early detection of perinatal asphyxia is particularly relevant among infants of overweight and obese women although more studies are necessary to confirm the results in other populations.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001648.
The US National Institutes of Health explains and calculates body mass index
The NIH also defines the Apgar scoring system
The United Kingdom's National Health Service has information for pregnant woman who are overweight
The UK-based Overseas Development Institute discusses how changes in diet have led to a worldwide health crisis in its “Future Diets” publication
Information about the Swedish health care system is available
Information in English is available from the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001648
PMCID: PMC4028185  PMID: 24845218
21.  Inability to predict postpartum hemorrhage: insights from Egyptian intervention data 
Background
Knowledge on how well we can predict primary postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) can help policy makers and health providers design current delivery protocols and PPH case management. The purpose of this paper is to identify risk factors and determine predictive probabilities of those risk factors for primary PPH among women expecting singleton vaginal deliveries in Egypt.
Methods
From a prospective cohort study, 2510 pregnant women were recruited over a six-month period in Egypt in 2004. PPH was defined as blood loss ≥ 500 ml. Measures of blood loss were made every 20 minutes for the first 4 hours after delivery using a calibrated under the buttocks drape. Using all variables available in the patients' charts, we divided them in ante-partum and intra-partum factors. We employed logistic regression to analyze socio-demographic, medical and past obstetric history, and labor and delivery outcomes as potential PPH risk factors. Post-model predicted probabilities were estimated using the identified risk factors.
Results
We found a total of 93 cases of primary PPH. In multivariate models, ante-partum hemoglobin, history of previous PPH, labor augmentation and prolonged labor were significantly associated with PPH. Post model probability estimates showed that even among women with three or more risk factors, PPH could only be predicted in 10% of the cases.
Conclusions
The predictive probability of ante-partum and intra-partum risk factors for PPH is very low. Prevention of PPH to all women is highly recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-97
PMCID: PMC3276439  PMID: 22123123
22.  Contribution of prepregnancy body mass index and gestational weight gain to caesarean birth in Canada 
Background
Overweight and obese women are known to be at increased risk of caesarean birth. This study estimates the contribution of prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) to caesarean births in Canada.
Methods
We analyzed data from women in the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey who had a singleton term live birth in 2005-2006. Adjusted odds ratios for caesarean birth across BMI and GWG groups were derived, separately for nulliparous women and parous women with and without a prior caesarean. Population attributable fractions of caesarean births associated with above normal BMI and excess GWG were calculated.
Results
The overall caesarean birth rate was 25.7%. Among nulliparous and parous women without a previous caesarean birth, rates in obese women were 45.1% and 9.7% respectively, and rates in women who gained above their recommended GWG were 33.5% and 8.0% respectively. Caesarean birth was more strongly associated with BMI than with GWG. However, due to the high prevalence of excess GWG (48.8%), the proportion of caesareans associated with above normal BMI and excess GWG was similar [10.1% (95% CI: 9.9-10.2) and 10.9% (95% CI: 10.7-11.1) respectively]. Overall, one in five (20.2%, 95% CI: 20.0-20.4) caesarean births was associated with above normal BMI or excess GWG.
Conclusions
Overweight and obese BMI and above recommended GWG are significantly associated with caesarean birth in singleton term pregnancies in Canada. Strategies to reduce caesarean births must include measures to prevent overweight and obese BMI prior to conception and promote recommended weight gain throughout pregnancy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-106
PMCID: PMC3995143  PMID: 24641703
Population attributable fractions; Maternal weight; Caesarean section
23.  Factors associated with acute postpartum hemorrhage in low risk women delivering in rural India 
Objective
Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), a major cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in low-income countries, can occur unpredictably. This study examined the sociodemographic, clinical, and perinatal characteristics of low-risk women who experienced PPH.
Methods
This analysis was conducted using data on 1620 women from a randomized trial testing oral misoprostol for prevention of PPH in rural India.
Results
Of the women, 9.2% experienced PPH. No maternal or sociodemographic factors and few perinatal factors differed between women with PPH and those without, other than treatment with misoprostol. Having fewer than 4 prenatal visits and lack of iron supplementation increased the risk for PPH (P<0.001 and P=0.037, respectively). Several factors unknown until the second stage of labor (perineal tear and birth weight) were also associated (P=0.003).
Conclusions
Among women at low risk for PPH, there were few factors associated with further risk. Given that PPH can occur without warning, rural communities should consider ways to increase both primary prevention (iron supplementation, AMTSL) and secondary prevention of PPH (availability of obstetric first aid, availability of transport, and availability of emergency obstetric care).
doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2007.08.025
PMCID: PMC3711742  PMID: 18291401
India; Maternal mortality; Postpartum hemorrhage
24.  Effect of a Primary Postpartum Haemorrhage on the “Near-Miss” Morbidity and Mortality at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Rural Bangalore, India 
Aim: To assess the risk factors, the mortality and the “near-miss” morbidity in primary PPH.
Setting and Design: A retrospective analysis of 124 women with PPH (within 24 hrs of delivery) over 4 consecutive years in a tertiary care hospital in rural bangalore.
Material and Methods: The case sheets of the patients, which were identified by the labour record registers as having PPH were reviewed by the same person, to identify the actual impact of the condition. The data was analyzed by Chi-square analysis.
Result: PPH (the loss of blood that caused significant alterations in the maternal condition or a blood loss of 500 cc in vaginal deliveries or of >1000 cc in caesarean sections) was recorded in 124 women; 60 had delivered in hospitals (Group-A) and 64 had been referred after their deliveries (Group-B) from various peripheral centres, i.e., maternity hospitals, nursing homes and district and community health centres. The maternal mortality ratio during this period was 71/100,000 (4 deaths/5600 live births). Of these 4 deaths, 0 were in group A and 4 were in group B. The “near-miss” morbidity was higher than the mortality (total 20/124; 6/60 in Group-A and 14/64 in Group-B). The delayed referrals and the lack of an active 3rd stage management in Group-B were responsible for most of the adverse events.
Conclusion: Both the “near-miss” morbidity and the mortality in PPH reflect the level of obstetric care in the developing world. These need to be reduced by strengthening the peripheral delivery facilities, the active 3rd stage management and the timely referrals.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5376.3066
PMCID: PMC3708211  PMID: 23905116
Maternal mortality; “Near-miss” morbidity; Primary postpartum haemorrhage
25.  Caesarean section versus vaginal delivery for preterm birth in singletons 
Background
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.
Objectives
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.
Infant
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).
Mother
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.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000078.pub2
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

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