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1.  The effects of antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese on neonatal health outcomes: the LIMIT randomised trial 
BMC Medicine  2014;12(1):163.
Background
Overweight and obesity during pregnancy represents a considerable health burden. While research has focused on interventions to limit gestational weight gain, there is little information describing their impact on neonatal health. Our aim was to investigate the effect on a range of pre-specified secondary neonatal outcomes of providing antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice to women who are overweight or obese.
Methods
We report a range of pre-specified secondary neonatal outcomes from a large randomised trial in which antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice was provided to women who were overweight or obese. Pregnant women were eligible for participation with a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or over, and singleton gestation between 10+0 and 20+0 weeks. Outcome measures included gestational age at birth; Apgar score below 7 at 5 minutes of age; need for resuscitation at birth; birth weight above 4.5 kg or below 2.5 kg; birth weight, length and head circumference (and Z-scores); admission to the nursery; respiratory distress syndrome; and postnatal length of stay. Data relating to the primary outcome (large for gestational age infants defined as birth weight above the 90th centile) and birth weight above 4 kg have been reported previously. Analyses used intention-to-treat principles.
Results
In total, 2,142 infants were included in the analyses. Infants born to women following lifestyle advice were significantly less likely to have birth weight above 4.5 kg (2.15% versus 3.69%; adjusted risk ratio (aRR) = 0.59; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.36 to 0.98; P = 0.04), or respiratory distress syndrome (1.22% versus 2.57%; aRR = 0.47; 95% CI 0.24 to 0.90; P = 0.02), particularly moderate or severe disease, and had a shorter length of postnatal hospital stay (3.94 ± 7.26 days versus 4.41 ± 9.87 days; adjusted ratio of means 0.89; 95% CI 0.82 to 0.97; P = 0.006) compared with infants born to women who received Standard Care.
Conclusions
For women who are overweight or obese, antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice has health benefits for infants, without an increase in the risk of harm. Continued follow-up into childhood will be important to assess the longer-term effects of a reduction in high infant birth weight on risk of child obesity.
Please see related articles: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/161 and http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/201.
Clinical trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000161426)
doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0163-9
PMCID: PMC4194368  PMID: 25315325
Pregnancy; Overweight and obesity; Neonatal health; Randomised trial; Dietary and lifestyle intervention
2.  The effects of antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese on maternal diet and physical activity: the LIMIT randomised trial 
BMC Medicine  2014;12(1):161.
Background
Overweight and obesity is a significant health concern during pregnancy. Our aim was to investigate the effect of providing antenatal dietary and lifestyle advice to women who are overweight or obese on components of maternal diet and physical activity.
Methods
We conducted a randomised controlled trial, in which pregnant women with a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2, and singleton gestation between 10+0 to 20+0 weeks were recruited and randomised to Lifestyle Advice (involving a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle intervention over their pregnancy) or Standard Care. Within the intervention group, we conducted a nested randomised trial in which a subgroup of women were further randomised to receive access to supervised group walking sessions in addition to the standard information presented during the intervention contacts (the Walking group) or standard information only.
The outcome measures were maternal dietary intake, (including food groups, macronutrient and micronutrient intake, diet quality (using the Healthy Eating Index; HEI), dietary glycaemic load, and glycaemic index) and maternal physical activity. Women completed the Harvard Semi-Structured Food Frequency Questionnaire, and the Short Questionnaire to Assess Health-enhancing Physical Activity (SQUASH), at trial entry, 28 and 36 weeks’ gestational age, and 4 months postpartum.
Analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis, using linear mixed effects models with adjustment for the stratification variables.
Results
Women randomised to Lifestyle Advice demonstrated a statistically significant increase in the number of servings of fruit and vegetables consumed per day, as well as increased consumption of fibre, and reduced percentage energy intake from saturated fats (P < 0.05 for all). Maternal HEI was significantly improved at both 28 (73.35 ± 6.62 versus 71.86 ± 7.01; adjusted difference in means 1.58; 95% CI 0.89 to 2.27; P < 0.0001) and 36 (72.95 ± 6.82 versus 71.17 ± 7.69; adjusted difference in means 1.77; 95% CI 1.01 to 2.53; P < 0.0001) weeks. There were no differences in dietary glycaemic index or glycaemic load. Women randomised to Lifestyle Advice also demonstrated greater total physical activity (adjusted difference in means 359.76 metabolic equivalent task units (MET) minutes/week; 95% CI 74.87 to 644.65; P = 0.01) compared with women receiving Standard Care. The supervised walking group was poorly utilised.
Conclusions
For women who are overweight or obese, antenatal lifestyle advice improves maternal diet and physical activity during pregnancy.
Please see related articles: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/163 and http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/201.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000161426)
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0161-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0161-y
PMCID: PMC4194375  PMID: 25315237
Pregnancy; Overweight and obesity; Diet composition; Physical activity; Randomised trial; Dietary and lifestyle intervention
3.  Interventions for preventing and treating hyperthyroidism in pregnancy 
Background
Women with hyperthyroidism in pregnancy have increased risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, and intrauterine growth restriction; and they can develop severe pre-eclampsia or placental abruption.
Objectives
To assess the effects of interventions for preventing or treating hyperthyroidism in pregnant women.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (28 July 2010).
Selection criteria
We intended to include randomised controlled trials comparing antithyroid treatments in pregnant women with hyperthyroidism.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors would have assessed trial eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data.
Main results
No trials were located.
Authors’ conclusions
As we did not identify any eligible trials, we are unable to comment on implications for practice, although early identification of hyperthyroidism before pregnancy may allow a woman to choose radioactive iodine therapy or surgery before planning to have a child. Designing and conducting a trial of antithyroid drugs for pregnant women with hyperthyroidism presents formidable challenges. Not only is hyperthyroidism a relatively rare condition, both of the two main drugs used have potential for harm, one for the mother and the other for the child. More observational research is required about the potential harms of methimazole in early pregnancy and about the potential liver damage from propylthiouracil.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008633.pub2
PMCID: PMC4175534  PMID: 20824882
Hyperthyroidism [prevention & control *therapy]; Pregnancy Complications [prevention & control *therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
4.  Repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of preterm birth for improving neonatal health outcomes 
Background
It has been unclear whether repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids are beneficial.
Objectives
To assess the effectiveness and safety of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (31 March 2011), searched reference lists of retrieved studies and contacted authors for further data.
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials of women who had already received a single course of corticosteroids seven or more days previously and considered still at risk of preterm birth.
Data collection and analysis
We assessed trial quality and extracted data independently.
Main results
We included 10 trials (more than 4730 women and 5650 babies) with low to moderate risk of bias. Treatment of women who remain at risk of preterm birth seven or more days after an initial course of prenatal corticosteroids with repeat dose(s), compared with no repeat corticosteroid treatment, reduced the risk of their infants experiencing the primary outcomes respiratory distress syndrome (risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75 to 0.91, eight trials, 3206 infants, numbers needed to treat (NNT) 17, 95% CI 11 to 32) and serious infant outcome (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.94, seven trials, 5094 infants, NNT 30, 95% CI 19 to 79).
Treatment with repeat dose(s) of corticosteroid was associated with a reduction in mean birthweight (mean difference (MD) −75.79 g, 95% CI −117.63 to −33.96, nine trials, 5626 infants). However, outcomes that adjusted birthweight for gestational age (birthweight Z scores, birthweight multiples of the median and small-for-gestational age) did not differ between treatment groups.
At early childhood follow-up no statistically significant differences were seen for infants exposed to repeat prenatal corticosteroids compared with unexposed infants for the primary outcomes (total deaths; survival free of any disability or major disability; disability; or serious outcome) or in the secondary outcome growth assessments.
Authors’ conclusions
The short-term benefits for babies of less respiratory distress and fewer serious health problems in the first few weeks after birth support the use of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids for women still at risk of preterm birth seven days or more after an initial course. These benefits were associated with a small reduction in size at birth. The current available evidence reassuringly shows no significant harm in early childhood, although no benefit.
Further research is needed on the long-term benefits and risks for the woman and baby. Individual patient data meta-analysis may clarify how to maximise benefit and minimise harm.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003935.pub3
PMCID: PMC4170912  PMID: 21678343
*Obstetric Labor, Premature; Adrenal Cortex Hormones [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Betamethasone [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Premature; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn [*prevention & control]; Retreatment [adverse effects]; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
5.  Different corticosteroids and regimens for accelerating fetal lung maturation for women at risk of preterm birth 
Background
Despite the widespread use of antenatal corticosteroids to prevent respiratory distress syndrome in preterm infants, there is currently no consensus as to the type of corticosteroid to use; nor the dose, frequency or timing of use or the route of administration.
Objectives
To assess the effects of different corticosteroid regimens for women at risk of preterm birth.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (January 2008).
Selection criteria
Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials of antenatal corticosteroid regimens in women at risk of preterm birth.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors assessed trial quality and extracted the data independently.
Main results
Ten trials (1089 women and 1161 infants) were included. Dexamethasone decreased the incidence of intraventricular haemorrhage compared with betamethasone (risk ratio (RR) 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.21 to 0.92; four trials, 549 infants). No statistically significant differences were seen for other primary outcomes including respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, severe intraventricular haemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, perinatal death, or mean birthweight. Results for biophysical parameters were inconsistent, but mostly no important differences were seen for these, or any other secondary outcome except for neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission. In one trial of 105 infants, significantly more infants in the dexamethasone group were admitted to NICU compared with the betamethasone group (RR 3.83, 95% CI 1.24 to 11.87).
Oral dexamethasone compared with intramuscular dexamethasone increased the incidence of neonatal sepsis (RR 8.48, 95% CI 1.11 to 64.93) in one trial of 183 infants. No statistically significant differences were seen for other outcomes reported.
In one small trial of 69 infants comparing betamethasone acetate and phosphate with betamethasone phosphate no differences were seen for any of the outcomes reported.
Authors’ conclusions
Dexamethasone may have some benefits compared with betamethasone such as less intraventricular haemorrhage, although perhaps a higher rate of NICU admission (seen in only one trial). Apart from a suggestion from another small trial that the intramuscular route may have advantages over an oral route for dexamethasone, few other conclusions about optimal antenatal corticosteroid regimens were able to be made. Trials of commonly used corticosteroids are most urgently needed, followed by trials of dosages and other variations in regimens.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006764.pub2
PMCID: PMC4164475  PMID: 18843729
*Premature Birth; Adrenal Cortex Hormones [*administration & dosage]; Beclomethasone [administration & dosage]; Dexamethasone [administration & dosage]; Fetal Organ Maturity [*drug effects]; Intracranial Hemorrhages [prevention & control]; Lung [drug effects; *embryology]; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
6.  Different intensities of glycaemic control for pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes 
Background
The optimal glycaemic control target in pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes is unclear, although there is a clear link between high glucose concentrations and adverse birth outcomes.
Objectives
To assess the effects of different intensities of glycaemic control in pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (30 April 2012).
Selection criteria
We included randomised controlled trials comparing different glycaemic control targets in pregnant women with pre-existing diabetes.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors assessed trial eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data.
Main results
We included three trials all in women with type 1 diabetes (223 women and babies), and all with a high risk of bias. Two trials compared very tight (3.33 to 5.0 mmol/L fasting blood glucose (FBG)) with tight-moderate (4.45 to 6.38) glycaemic control targets, with one trial of 22 babies reporting no perinatal deaths or serious perinatal morbidity. In the same trial, there were two birth defects in the very tight and none in the tight-moderate group with no significant differences in caesarean section between groups (risk ratio 0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.49 to 1.73). In these two trials glycaemic control was not significantly different between the very tight and tight-moderate groups by the third trimester, although one trial of 22 women found significantly less maternal hypoglycaemia in the tight-moderate group.
In a trial of 60 women and babies comparing tight ( 5.6 mmol/L FBG); moderate (5.6 to 6.7); and loose (6.7 to 8.9) glycaemic control targets, there were two neonatal deaths in the loose and none in the tight or moderate groups. There were significantly fewer women with pre-eclampsia, fewer caesareans and fewer birthweights greater than 90th centile in the combined tight-moderate compared with the loose group.
Authors’ conclusions
In a very limited body of evidence, few differences in outcomes were seen between very tight and tight-moderate glycaemic control targets in pregnant women with pre-existing type 1 diabetes, including actual glycaemic control achieved. There is evidence of harm (increased pre-eclampsia, caesareans and birthweights greater than 90th centile) for ‘loose’ control (FBG above 7 mmol/L). Future trials comparing interventions, rather than glycaemic control targets, may be more feasible particularly for pregnant women with type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008540.pub3
PMCID: PMC4164477  PMID: 22895976
Blood Glucose [*metabolism]; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 [blood; *therapy]; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 [blood]; Fasting [blood]; Hemoglobin A, Glycosylated [metabolism]; Hyperglycemia [blood; therapy]; Hypoglycemic Agents [therapeutic use]; Infant, Newborn; Insulin [therapeutic use]; Pregnancy in Diabetics [blood; *therapy]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Reference Values; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
7.  Screening and subsequent management for gestational diabetes for improving maternal and infant health 
Background
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy. Although GDM usually resolves following birth, it is associated with significant morbidities for mother and baby both perinatally and in the long term. There is strong evidence to support treatment for GDM. However, there is little consensus on whether or not screening for GDM will improve maternal and infant health and if so, the most appropriate protocol to follow.
Objectives
To assess the effects of different methods of screening for gestational diabetes mellitus and maternal and infant outcomes.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (April 2010).
Selection criteria
Randomised and quasi-randomised trials evaluating the effects of different methods of screening for gestational diabetes mellitus.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently conducted data extraction and quality assessment. We resolved disagreements through discussion or through a third author.
Main results
We included four trials involving 3972 women were included in the review. One quasi-randomised trial compared risk factor screening with universal or routine screening by 50 g oral glucose challenge testing. Women in the universal screening group were more likely to be diagnosed with GDM (one trial, 3152 women, risk ratio (RR) 0.44 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.26 to 0.75). Infants of mothers in the risk factor screening group were born marginally earlier than infants of mothers in the routine screening group (one trial, 3152 women, mean difference −0.15 weeks, 95% CI −0.27 to −0.53).
The remaining three trials evaluated different methods of administering a 50 g glucose load. Two small trials compared glucose monomer with glucose polymer testing, with one of these trials including a candy bar group. One trial compared a glucose solution with food. No differences in diagnosis of GDM were found between each comparison. Overall, women drinking the glucose monomer experienced fewer side effects from testing than women drinking the glucose polymer (two trials, 151 women, RR 2.80, 95% CI 1.10 to 7.13). However, we observed high heterogeneity between the trials for this result (I2 = 61%).
Authors’ conclusions
There was insufficient evidence to determine if screening for gestational diabetes, or what types of screening, can improve maternal and infant health outcomes.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007222.pub2
PMCID: PMC4161118  PMID: 20614455
Diabetes, Gestational [*diagnosis; therapy]; Glucose Tolerance Test [adverse effects; *methods]; Infant Welfare; Infant, Newborn; Mass Screening [*methods]; Maternal Welfare; Pregnancy Outcome; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
8.  Maternal and perinatal health research priorities beyond 2015: an international survey and prioritization exercise 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:61.
Background
Maternal mortality has declined by nearly half since 1990, but over a quarter million women still die every year of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal-health related targets are falling short of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and a post-2015 Development Agenda is emerging. In connection with this, setting global research priorities for the next decade is now required.
Methods
We adapted the methods of the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) to identify and set global research priorities for maternal and perinatal health for the period 2015 to 2025. Priority research questions were received from various international stakeholders constituting a large reference group, and consolidated into a final list of research questions by a technical working group. Questions on this list were then scored by the reference working group according to five independent and equally weighted criteria. Normalized research priority scores (NRPS) were calculated, and research priority questions were ranked accordingly.
Results
A list of 190 priority research questions for improving maternal and perinatal health was scored by 140 stakeholders. Most priority research questions (89%) were concerned with the evaluation of implementation and delivery of existing interventions, with research subthemes frequently concerned with training and/or awareness interventions (11%), and access to interventions and/or services (14%). Twenty-one questions (11%) involved the discovery of new interventions or technologies.
Conclusions
Key research priorities in maternal and perinatal health were identified. The resulting ranked list of research questions provides a valuable resource for health research investors, researchers and other stakeholders. We are hopeful that this exercise will inform the post-2015 Development Agenda and assist donors, research-policy decision makers and researchers to invest in research that will ultimately make the most significant difference in the lives of mothers and babies.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-61
PMCID: PMC4132282  PMID: 25100034
Research priorities; CHNRI; Maternal and perinatal health
9.  Planned caesarean section for women with a twin pregnancy 
Background
Twin pregnancies are associated with increased perinatal mortality, mainly related to prematurity, but complications during birth may contribute to perinatal loss or morbidity. The option of planned caesarean section to avoid such complications must therefore be considered. On the other hand, randomised trials of other clinical interventions in the birth process to avoid problems related to labour and birth (planned caesarean section for breech, and continuous electronic fetal heart rate monitoring), have shown an unexpected discordance between short-term perinatal morbidity and long-term neurological outcome. The risks of caesarean section for the mother in the current and subsequent pregnancies must also be taken into account.
Objectives
To determine the short- and long-term effects on mothers and their babies, of planned caesarean section for twin pregnancy.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (30 September 2011).
Selection criteria
Randomised trials comparing a policy of caesarean section with planned vaginal birth for women with twin pregnancy.
Data collection and analysis
Two researchers independently assessed eligibility, quality and extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy.
Main results
One small trial with unconfirmed allocation concealment compared caesarean section with planned vaginal birth in 60 women with vertex/non-vertex twin pregnancies. There were no differences in perinatal outcome. The trial was too small to exclude the possibility of clinically meaningful benefits of either approach. There is one additional trial currently ongoing.
Authors’ conclusions
There is a lack of robust evidence to guide clinical advice regarding the method of birth for twin pregnancies. Women should be informed of possible benefits and risks of either approach, including short-term and long-term consequences for both mother and babies. Future research should aim to provide unbiased evidence, including long-term outcomes.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006553.pub2
PMCID: PMC4110647  PMID: 22161406
*Pregnancy Outcome; *Pregnancy; Twin; Cesarean Section [adverse effects; *methods]; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
10.  Induction of labour for improving birth outcomes for women at or beyond term 
Background
As a pregnancy continues beyond term the risks of babies dying inside the womb or in the immediate newborn period increase. Whether a policy of labour induction at a predetermined gestational age can reduce this increased risk is the subject of this review.
Objectives
To evaluate the benefits and harms of a policy of labour induction at term or post-term compared with awaiting spontaneous labour or later induction of labour.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (31 March 2012).
Selection criteria
Randomised controlled trials conducted in women at or beyond term. The eligible trials were those comparing a policy of labour induction with a policy of awaiting spontaneous onset of labour. Cluster-randomised trials and cross-over trials are not included. Quasi-random allocation schemes such as alternation, case record numbers or open random-number lists were not eligible.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion. Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy. Outcomes are analysed in two main categories: gestational age and cervix status.
Main results
We included 22 trials reporting on 9383 women. The trials were generally at moderate risk of bias.
Compared with a policy of expectant management, a policy of labour induction was associated with fewer (all-cause) perinatal deaths: risk ratio (RR) 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.12 to 0.88; 17 trials, 7407 women. There was one perinatal death in the labour induction policy group compared with 13 perinatal deaths in the expectant management group. The number needed to treat to benefit (NNTB) with induction of labour in order to prevent one perinatal death was 410 (95% CI 322 to 1492).
For the primary outcome of perinatal death and most other outcomes, no differences between timing of induction subgroups were seen; the majority of trials adopted a policy of induction at 41 completed weeks (287 days) or more.
Fewer babies in the labour induction group had meconium aspiration syndrome (RR 0.50, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.73; eight trials, 2371 infants) compared with a policy of expectant management. There was no statistically significant difference between the rates of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission for induction compared with expectant management (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.04; 10 trials, 6161 infants). For women in the policy of induction arms of trials, there were significantly fewer caesarean sections compared with expectant management in 21 trials of 8749 women (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.97).
Authors’ conclusions
A policy of labour induction compared with expectant management is associated with fewer perinatal deaths and fewer caesarean sections. Some infant morbidities such as meconium aspiration syndrome were also reduced with a policy of post-term labour induction although no significant differences in the rate of NICU admission were seen.
However, the absolute risk of perinatal death is small. Women should be appropriately counselled in order to make an informed choice between scheduled induction for a post-term pregnancy or monitoring without induction (or delayed induction).
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004945.pub3
PMCID: PMC4065650  PMID: 22696345
* Pregnancy, Prolonged; *Watchful Waiting; Cesarean Section [utilization]; Infant Mortality; Infant, Newborn; Labor, Induced [*adverse effects]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Risk; Female; Humans; Pregnancy
11.  Antenatal lifestyle advice for women who are overweight or obese: LIMIT randomised trial 
Objective To determine the effect of antenatal dietary and lifestyle interventions on health outcomes in overweight and obese pregnant women.
Design Multicentre randomised trial. We utilised a central telephone randomisation server, with computer generated schedule, balanced variable blocks, and stratification for parity, body mass index (BMI) category, and hospital.
Setting Three public maternity hospitals across South Australia.
Participants 2212 women with a singleton pregnancy, between 10+0 and 20+0 weeks’ gestation, and BMI ≥25.
Interventions 1108 women were randomised to a comprehensive dietary and lifestyle intervention delivered by research staff; 1104 were randomised to standard care and received pregnancy care according to local guidelines, which did not include such information.
Main outcome measures Incidence of infants born large for gestational age (birth weight ≥90th centile for gestation and sex). Prespecified secondary outcomes included birth weight >4000 g, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. Analyses used intention to treat principles.
Results 2152 women and 2142 liveborn infants were included in the analyses. The risk of the infant being large for gestational age was not significantly different in the two groups (lifestyle advice 203/1075 (19%) v standard care 224/1067 (21%); adjusted relative risk 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.77 to 1.07; P=0.24). Infants born to women after lifestyle advice were significantly less likely to have birth weight above 4000 g (lifestyle advice 164/1075 (15%) v standard care 201/1067 (19%); 0.82, 0.68 to 0.99; number needed to treat (NNT) 28, 15 to 263; P=0.04). There were no differences in maternal pregnancy and birth outcomes between the two treatment groups.
Conclusions For women who were overweight or obese, the antenatal lifestyle advice used in this study did not reduce the risk delivering a baby weighing above the 90th centile for gestational age and sex or improve maternal pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Trial registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12607000161426).
doi:10.1136/bmj.g1285
PMCID: PMC3919179  PMID: 24513442
12.  Working to improve survival and health for babies born very preterm: the WISH project protocol 
Background
Babies born very preterm (before 30 weeks gestation) are at high risk of dying in their first weeks of life, and those who survive are at risk of developing cerebral palsy in childhood. Recent high-quality evidence has shown that giving women magnesium sulphate immediately prior to very early birth can significantly increase the chances of their babies surviving free of cerebral palsy. In 2010 Australian and New Zealand clinical practice guidelines recommended this therapy. The WISH (Working to Improve Survival and Health for babies born very preterm) Project aims to bi-nationally improve and monitor the use of this therapy to reduce the risk of very preterm babies dying or having cerebral palsy.
Methods/Design
The WISH Project is a prospective cohort study. The 25 Australian and New Zealand tertiary level maternity hospitals will be provided with a package of active implementation strategies to guide the introduction and local adaptation of guideline recommendations. Surveys will be conducted at individual hospitals to evaluate outcomes related to local implementation progress and the use and value of the WISH implementation strategies. For the hospitals participating in the ‘WISH audit of uptake and health outcomes data collection’, the primary health outcomes (assessed through case note review, and 24 month corrected age questionnaires) will be: the proportion of eligible women receiving antenatal magnesium sulphate; and rates of death prior to primary hospital discharge and cerebral palsy at two years corrected age in infants born to eligible mothers. For hospitals wishing to assess factors influencing translation locally, barriers and facilitators will be measured through interviews with health care professionals, to further guide implementation strategies. Study outcomes for the early phase of the project (Year 1) will be compared with the later intervention phase (Years 2 and 3).
Discussion
The WISH Project will offer insight into the effectiveness of a multifaceted implementation strategy to improve the uptake of a novel neuroprotective therapy in obstetric clinical practice. The successful implementation of antenatal magnesium sulphate for fetal neuroprotection in Australia and New Zealand could lead to over 90 fewer very preterm babies dying or suffering the long-term consequences of cerebral palsy each year.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-239
PMCID: PMC3879421  PMID: 24354790
Evidence-based practice; Implementation; Magnesium sulphate; Neuroprotection; Cerebral palsy; Preterm birth
13.  Maternal adverse effects of different antenatal magnesium sulphate regimens for improving maternal and infant outcomes: a systematic review 
Background
Antenatal magnesium sulphate, widely used in obstetrics to improve maternal and infant outcomes, may be associated with adverse effects for the mother sufficient for treatment cessation. This systematic review aimed to quantify maternal adverse effects attributed to treatment, assess how adverse effects vary according to different regimens, and explore women’s experiences with this treatment.
Methods
Bibliographic databases were searched from their inceptions to July 2012 for studies of any design that reported on maternal adverse effects associated with antenatal magnesium sulphate given to improve maternal or infant outcomes. Primary outcomes were life-threatening adverse effects of treatment (death, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest). For randomised controlled trials, data were meta-analysed, and risk ratios (RR) pooled using fixed-effects or random-effects models. For non-randomised studies, data were tabulated by design, and presented as RR, odds ratios or percentages, and summarised narratively.
Results
A total of 143 publications were included (21 randomised trials, 15 non-randomised comparative studies, 32 case series and 75 reports of individual cases), of mixed methodological quality. Compared with placebo or no treatment, magnesium sulphate was not associated with an increased risk of maternal death, cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest. Magnesium sulphate significantly increased the risk of 'any adverse effects’ overall (RR 4.62, 95% CI 2.42-8.83; 4 trials, 13,322 women), and treatment cessation due to adverse effects (RR 2.77; 95% CI 2.32-3.30; 5 trials, 13,666 women). Few subgroup differences were observed (between indications for use and treatment regimens). In one trial, a lower dose regimen (2 g/3 hours) compared with a higher dose regimen (5 g/4 hours) significantly reduced treatment cessation (RR 0.05; 95% CI 0.01-0.39, 126 women). Adverse effect estimates from studies of other designs largely supported data from randomised trials. Case reports supported an association between iatrogenic overdose of magnesium sulphate and life-threatening consequences.
Conclusions
Appropriate administration of antenatal magnesium sulphate was not shown to be associated with serious maternal adverse effects, though an increase in 'minor’ adverse effects and treatment cessation was shown. Larger trials are needed to determine optimal regimens, achieving maximal effectiveness with minimal adverse effects, for each antenatal indication for use. Vigilance in the use of magnesium sulphate is essential for women’s safety.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-195
PMCID: PMC4015216  PMID: 24139447
Magnesium sulphate; Magnesium sulfate; Antenatal; Adverse effect; Systematic review
14.  Australasian randomised trial to evaluate the role of maternal intramuscular dexamethasone versus betamethasone prior to preterm birth to increase survival free of childhood neurosensory disability (A*STEROID): study protocol 
Background
Both dexamethasone and betamethasone, given to women at risk of preterm birth, substantially improve short-term neonatal health, increase the chance of the baby being discharged home alive, and reduce childhood neurosensory disability, remaining safe into adulthood. However, it is unclear which corticosteroid is of greater benefit to mother and child.
This study aims to determine whether giving dexamethasone to women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks’ gestation increases the chance of their children surviving free of neurosensory disability at two years’ corrected age, compared with betamethasone.
Methods/Design
Design randomised, multicentre, placebo controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks’ gestation with a singleton or twin pregnancy and no contraindications to the use of antenatal corticosteroids and who give informed consent.
Trial entry & randomisation at telephone randomisation eligible women will be randomly allocated to either the dexamethasone group or the betamethasone group, allocated a study number and corresponding treatment pack.
Study groups women in the dexamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 12 mg dexamethasone (dexamethasone sodium phosphate) and women in the betamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 11.4 mg betamethasone (Celestone Chronodose). Both study groups consist of intramuscular treatments 24 hours apart.
Primary study outcome death or any neurosensory disability measured in children at two years’ corrected age.
Sample size a sample size of 1449 children is required to detect either a decrease in death or any neurosensory disability from 27.0% to 20.1% with dexamethasone compared with betamethasone, or an increase from 27.0% to 34.5% (two-sided alpha 0.05, 80% power, 5% loss to follow up, design effect 1.2).
Discussion
This study will provide high-level evidence of direct relevance for clinical practice. If one drug clearly results in significantly fewer deaths and fewer disabled children then it should be used consistently in women at risk of preterm birth and would be of great importance to women at risk of preterm birth, their children, health services and communities.
Trial registration
Trial registration number: ACTRN12608000631303
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-104
PMCID: PMC3655914  PMID: 23642125
Antenatal corticosteroids; Dexamethasone; Betamethasone; Preterm birth; Randomised controlled trial; Neurosensory disability
15.  The DIAMIND study: postpartum SMS reminders to women who have had gestational diabetes mellitus to test for type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial – study protocol 
Background
Postpartum follow up of women who have been found to have gestational diabetes during pregnancy is essential because of the strong association of gestational diabetes with subsequent type 2 diabetes. Postal reminders have been shown to increase significantly attendance for oral glucose tolerance testing postpartum. It is possible that a short message service (text) reminder system may also be effective. This trial aims to assess whether a text message reminder system for women who have experienced gestational diabetes in their index pregnancy will increase attendance for oral glucose tolerance testing within six months after birth.
Methods/Design
Design: Single centre (Women’s and Children’s Hospital, South Australia), parallel group randomised controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria: Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes in their index pregnancy (oral glucose tolerance test with fasting glucose ≥ 5.5 mmol/L and/or two hour glucose ≥ 7.8 mmol/L), with access to a mobile phone, whose capillary blood glucose profile measurements prior to postnatal discharge are all normal (fasting glucose < 6.0 mmol/L, postprandial glucoses < 8.0 mmol/L).
Exclusion criteria: Pregestational diabetes mellitus, triplet/higher order multiple birth or stillbirth in the index pregnancy, requirement for interpreter.
Trial entry and randomisation: Allocation to intervention will be undertaken using a telephone randomisation service (computer-generated random number sequence generation, with balanced variable blocks, and stratification by insulin requirement).
Study groups: Women in the intervention group will receive a text reminder to attend for an oral glucose tolerance test at 6 weeks postpartum, with further reminders at 3 months and 6 months if they do not respond to indicate test completion. Women in the control group will receive a single text message reminder at 6 months postpartum.
Blinding: Baseline data collection will be undertaken blinded. Blinding of participants and blinded collection of primary outcome data will not be possible for this study.
Primary study outcome: Attendance for the oral glucose tolerance test within 6 months postpartum.
Sample size: 276 subjects will be required to show an 18% absolute increase in the rate of attendance (α=0.05 two tailed, β=80%, 5% loss to follow up) from 37% to 55% in the intervention group.
Discussion
Given the heightened risk of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes in women who have had gestational diabetes, ensuring the highest possible rate of attendance for postpartum glucose tolerance testing, so that early diagnosis and intervention can occur, is important. A text message reminder system may prove to be an effective method for achieving improved attendance for such testing. This randomised controlled trial will assess whether such a system will increase rates of attendance for postpartum oral glucose tolerance testing in women who have experienced gestational diabetes.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry - ACTRN12612000621819
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-92
PMCID: PMC3626874  PMID: 23587090
Gestational diabetes mellitus; Reminder system; SMS text reminder; Randomised controlled trial; Postpartum care; Oral glucose tolerance test; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
16.  Magnesium sulphate at 30 to 34 weeks’ gestational age: neuroprotection trial (MAGENTA) - study protocol 
Background
Magnesium sulphate is currently recommended for neuroprotection of preterm infants for women at risk of preterm birth at less than 30 weeks’ gestation, based on high quality evidence of benefit. However there remains uncertainty as to whether these benefits apply at higher gestational ages.
The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to assess whether giving magnesium sulphate compared with placebo to women immediately prior to preterm birth between 30 and 34 weeks’ gestation reduces the risk of death or cerebral palsy in their children at two years’ corrected age.
Methods/design
Design: Randomised, multicentre, placebo controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria: Women, giving informed consent, at risk of preterm birth between 30 to 34 weeks’ gestation, where birth is planned or definitely expected within 24 hours, with a singleton or twin pregnancy and no contraindications to the use of magnesium sulphate.
Trial entry & randomisation: Eligible women will be randomly allocated to receive either magnesium sulphate or placebo.
Treatment groups: Women in the magnesium sulphate group will be administered 50 ml of a 100 ml infusion bag containing 8 g magnesium sulphate heptahydrate [16 mmol magnesium ions]. Women in the placebo group will be administered 50 ml of a 100 ml infusion bag containing isotonic sodium chloride solution (0.9%). Both treatments will be administered through a dedicated IV infusion line over 30 minutes.
Primary study outcome: Death or cerebral palsy measured in children at two years’ corrected age.
Sample size: 1676 children are required to detect a decrease in the combined outcome of death or cerebral palsy, from 9.6% with placebo to 5.4% with magnesium sulphate (two-sided alpha 0.05, 80% power, 5% loss to follow up, design effect 1.2).
Discussion
Given the magnitude of the protective effect in the systematic review, the ongoing uncertainty about benefits at later gestational ages, the serious health and cost consequences of cerebral palsy for the child, family and society, a trial of magnesium sulphate for women at risk of preterm birth between 30 to 34 weeks’ gestation is both important and relevant for clinical practice globally.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry - ACTRN12611000491965
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-91
PMCID: PMC3636106  PMID: 23570677
Magnesium sulphate; Neuroprotection; Preterm birth; Randomised controlled trial; Cerebral palsy
17.  The IDEAL study: investigation of dietary advice and lifestyle for women with borderline gestational diabetes: a randomised controlled trial - study protocol 
Background
The Australian Carbohydrate Intolerance Study in Pregnant Women (ACHOIS) showed that treatment of pregnant women with mild gestational diabetes mellitus is beneficial for both women and their infants. It is still uncertain whether there are benefits of similar treatment for women with borderline gestational diabetes.
This trial aims to assess whether dietary and lifestyle advice and treatment given to pregnant women who screen for borderline gestational diabetes reduces neonatal complications and maternal morbidities.
Methods/design
Design: Multicentre, randomised controlled trial.
Inclusion criteria: Women between 240 and 346 weeks gestation with a singleton pregnancy, a positive oral glucose challenge test (venous plasma glucose ≥7.8 mmol/L) and a normal oral 75 gram glucose tolerance test (fasting venous plasma glucose <5.5 mmol/L and a 2 hour glucose <7.8 mmol/L) with written, informed consent.
Trial entry and randomisation: Women with an abnormal oral glucose tolerance test (fasting venous plasma glucose ≥5.5 mmol/L or 2 hour glucose ≥7.8 mmol/L) will not be eligible and will be offered treatment for gestational diabetes, consistent with recommendations based on results of the ACHOIS trial. Eligible women will be randomised into either the ‘Routine Care Group’ or the ‘Intervention Group’.
Study groups: Women in the ‘Routine Care Group’ will receive routine obstetric care reflecting current clinical practice in Australian hospitals. Women in the ‘Intervention Group’ will receive obstetric care, which will include dietary and lifestyle advice, monitoring of blood glucose and further medical treatment for hyperglycaemia as appropriate.
Primary study outcome: Incidence of large for gestational age infants.
Sample size: A sample size of 682 women will be sufficient to show a 50% reduction in the risk of large for gestational age infants (alpha 0.05 two-tailed, 80% power, 4% loss to follow up) from 14% to 7% with dietary and lifestyle advice and treatment.
Discussion
A conclusive trial outcome will provide reliable evidence of relevance for the care of women with borderline glucose intolerance in pregnancy and their infants.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry - ACTRN12607000174482
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-106
PMCID: PMC3506505  PMID: 23046499
Borderline gestational diabetes; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Randomised controlled trial; Diet; Lifestyle; Large for gestational age
18.  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
19.  Repeat prenatal corticosteroid prior to preterm birth: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis for the PRECISE study group (prenatal repeat corticosteroid international IPD study group: assessing the effects using the best level of evidence) - study protocol 
Systematic Reviews  2012;1:12.
Background
The aim of this individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis is to assess whether the effects of repeat prenatal corticosteroid treatment given to women at risk of preterm birth to benefit their babies are modified in a clinically meaningful way by factors related to the women or the trial protocol.
Methods/Design
The Prenatal Repeat Corticosteroid International IPD Study Group: assessing the effects using the best level of Evidence (PRECISE) Group will conduct an IPD meta-analysis. The PRECISE International Collaborative Group was formed in 2010 and data collection commenced in 2011. Eleven trials with up to 5,000 women and 6,000 infants are eligible for the PRECISE IPD meta-analysis. The primary study outcomes for the infants will be serious neonatal outcome (defined by the PRECISE International IPD Study Group as one of death (foetal, neonatal or infant); severe respiratory disease; severe intraventricular haemorrhage (grade 3 and 4); chronic lung disease; necrotising enterocolitis; serious retinopathy of prematurity; and cystic periventricular leukomalacia); use of respiratory support (defined as mechanical ventilation or continuous positive airways pressure or other respiratory support); and birth weight (Z-scores). For the children, the primary study outcomes will be death or any neurological disability (however defined by trialists at childhood follow up and may include developmental delay or intellectual impairment (developmental quotient or intelligence quotient more than one standard deviation below the mean), cerebral palsy (abnormality of tone with motor dysfunction), blindness (for example, corrected visual acuity worse than 6/60 in the better eye) or deafness (for example, hearing loss requiring amplification or worse)). For the women, the primary outcome will be maternal sepsis (defined as chorioamnionitis; pyrexia after trial entry requiring the use of antibiotics; puerperal sepsis; intrapartum fever requiring the use of antibiotics; or postnatal pyrexia).
Discussion
Data analyses are expected to commence in 2011 with results publicly available in 2012.
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-12
PMCID: PMC3351733  PMID: 22588009
20.  Limiting weight gain in overweight and obese women during pregnancy to improve health outcomes: the LIMIT randomised controlled trial 
Background
Obesity is a significant global health problem, with the proportion of women entering pregnancy with a body mass index greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2 approaching 50%. Obesity during pregnancy is associated with a well-recognised increased risk of adverse health outcomes both for the woman and her infant, however there is more limited information available regarding effective interventions to improve health outcomes.
The aims of this randomised controlled trial are to assess whether the implementation of a package of dietary and lifestyle advice to overweight and obese women during pregnancy to limit gestational weight gain is effective in improving maternal, fetal and infant health outcomes.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred randomised, controlled trial.
Inclusion Criteria: Women with a singleton, live gestation between 10+0-20+0 weeks who are obese or overweight (defined as body mass index greater than or equal to 25 kg/m2), at the first antenatal visit.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Eligible, consenting women will be randomised between 10+0 and 20+0 weeks gestation using a central telephone randomisation service, and randomisation schedule prepared by non-clinical research staff with balanced variable blocks. Stratification will be according to maternal BMI at trial entry, parity, and centre where planned to give birth.
Treatment Schedules: Women randomised to the Dietary and Lifestyle Advice Group will receive a series of inputs from research assistants and research dietician to limit gestational weight gain, and will include a combination of dietary, exercise and behavioural strategies.
Women randomised to the Standard Care Group will continue to receive their pregnancy care according to local hospital guidelines, which does not currently include routine provision of dietary, lifestyle and behavioural advice.
Outcome assessors will be blinded to the allocated treatment group.
Primary Study Outcome: infant large for gestational age (defined as infant birth weight ≥ 90th centile for gestational age).
Sample Size: 2,180 women to detect a 30% reduction in large for gestational age infants from 14.40% (p = 0.05, 80% power, two-tailed).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial. The findings will contribute to the development of evidence based clinical practice guidelines.
Trial Registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000161426
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-79
PMCID: PMC3219553  PMID: 22026403
21.  Effect of Treatment of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus on Obesity in the Next Generation 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(5):964-968.
OBJECTIVE
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) may cause obesity in the offspring. The objective was to assess the effect of treatment for mild GDM on the BMI of 4- to 5-year-old children.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Participants were 199 mothers who participated in a randomized controlled trial of the treatment of mild GDM during pregnancy and their children. Trained nurses measured the height and weight of the children at preschool visits in a state-wide surveillance program in the state of South Australia. The main outcome measure was age- and sex-specific BMI Z score based on standards of the International Obesity Task Force.
RESULTS
At birth, prevalence of macrosomia (birth weight ≥4,000 g) was 5.3% among the 94 children whose mothers were in the intervention group, and 21.9% among the 105 children in the routine care control group. At 4- to 5-years-old, mean (SD) BMI Z score was 0.49 (1.20) in intervention children and 0.41 (1.40) among controls. The difference between treatment groups was 0.08 (95% CI −0.29 to 0.44), an estimate minimally changed by adjustment for maternal race, parity, age, and socio-economic index (0.08 [−0.29 to 0.45]). Evaluating BMI ≥85th percentile rather than continuous BMI Z score gave similarly null results.
CONCLUSIONS
Although treatment of GDM substantially reduced macrosomia at birth, it did not result in a change in BMI at age 4- to 5-years-old.
doi:10.2337/dc09-1810
PMCID: PMC2858199  PMID: 20150300
22.  Acupuncture to Treat Primary Dysmenorrhea in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
We examined the effectiveness of acupuncture to reduce the severity and intensity of primary dysmenorrhea. A randomized controlled trial compared acupuncture with control acupuncture using a placebo needle. Eligible women were aged 14–25 years with a diagnosis of primary dysmenorrhea. Women received nine sessions of the study treatment over 3 months. The primary outcomes were menstrual pain intensity and duration, overall improvement in dysmenorrhea symptoms and reduced need for additional analgesia, measured at 3, 6 and 12 months from trial entry. A total of 92 women were randomly assigned to the intervention (acupuncture n = 46 and control n = 46). At 3 months although pain outcomes were lower for women in the acupuncture group compared with the control group, there was no significant difference between groups. Women receiving acupuncture reported a small reduction in mood changes compared with the control group, relative risk (RR) 0.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53–1.00, P = .05. Follow-up at 6 months found a significant reduction in the duration of menstrual pain in the acupuncture group compared with the control group, mean difference –9.6, 95% CI –18.9 to –0.3, P = .04, and the need for additional analgesia was significantly lower in the acupuncture group compared with the control group, RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49–0.96, P = .03, but the follow-up at 12 months found lack of treatment effect. To conclude, although acupuncture improved menstrual mood symptoms in women with primary dysmenorrhea during the treatment phase, the trend in the improvement of symptoms during the active phase of treatment, and at 6 and 12 months was non-significant, indicating that a small treatment effect from acupuncture on dysmenorrhea may exist. In the study, acupuncture was acceptable and safe, but further appropriately powered trials are needed before recommendations for clinical practice can be made.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nep239
PMCID: PMC3140031  PMID: 21799683
23.  Timing of birth for women with a twin pregnancy at term: a randomised controlled trial 
Background
There is a well recognized risk of complications for both women and infants of a twin pregnancy, increasing beyond 37 weeks gestation. Preterm birth prior to 37 weeks gestation is a recognized complication of a twin pregnancy, however, up to 50% of twins will be born after this time.
The aims of this randomised trial are to assess whether elective birth at 37 weeks gestation compared with standard care in women with a twin pregnancy affects the risk of perinatal death, and serious infant complications.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred randomised trial.
Inclusion Criteria: women with a twin pregnancy at 366 weeks or more without contraindication to continuation of pregnancy.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Following written informed consent, eligible women will be randomised from 36+6 weeks gestation. The randomisation schedule uses balanced variable blocks, with stratification for centre of birth and planned mode of birth. Women will be randomised to either elective birth or standard care.
Treatment Schedules: Women allocated to the elective birth group will be planned for elective birth from 37 weeks gestation. Where the plan is for vaginal birth, this will involve induction of labour. Where the plan is for caesarean birth, this will involve elective caesarean section. For women allocated to standard care, birth will be planned for 38 weeks gestation or later. Where the plan is for vaginal birth, this will involve either awaiting the spontaneous onset of labour, or induction of labour if required. Where the plan is for caesarean birth, this will involve elective caesarean section (after 38 and as close to 39 weeks as possible).
Primary Study Outcome: A composite of perinatal mortality or serious neonatal morbidity.
Sample Size: 460 women with a twin pregnancy to show a reduction in the composite outcome from 16.3% to 6.7% with adjustment for the clustering of twin infants within mothers (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial, the findings of which will contribute information about the optimal time of birth for women with an uncomplicated multiple pregnancy at and beyond 37 weeks gestation.
Clinical Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15761056
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-68
PMCID: PMC2978123  PMID: 20973989
24.  Influence of training in the use and generation of evidence on episiotomy practice and perineal trauma 
Objective
To examine episiotomy practices before and after a multi-component intervention designed to support the use and generation of research evidence in maternal and neonatal health care.
Methods
Set in 9 centers across 4 Southeast Asian countries, a retrospective survey was performed for 12 recommended pregnancy/childbirth practices and 13 outcomes of women in each center before and after intervention. Qualitative interviews were conducted to assess staff awareness and experience in evidence-based practice.
Results
There were significant decreases in the rate of episiotomy, from 64.1% to 60.1% (risk difference [RD] –4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], –5.8 to –2.2) for all women and from 92.2% to 80.7% (RD –11.5; 95% CI, –13.4 to –9.6) for nulliparous women. Severe trauma decreased from 3.9% to 1.9% (RD –2.0; 95% CI, –2.7 to –1.4) for all women and from 6.7% to 3.0% (RD –3.7; 95% CI, –4.9 to –2.5) for nulliparous women. The frequency of intact perineum increased from 12.4% to 15.6% (RD 3.2; 95% CI, 1.9–4.6) for all women and from 1.7% to 8.0% (RD 6.3; 95% CI, 5.0–7.5) for nulliparous women.
Conclusion
An intervention based on understanding and using the best available evidence can result in significant improvements in care and health outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2010.04.035
PMCID: PMC2957817  PMID: 20598690
Capacity building; Episiotomy; Low-income countries; Practice change
25.  The risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women who are overweight or obese 
Background
The prevalence of obesity amongst women bearing children in Australia is rising and has important implications for obstetric care. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and impact of mothers being overweight and obese in early to mid-pregnancy on maternal, peripartum and neonatal outcomes.
Methods
A secondary analysis was performed on data collected from nulliparous women with a singleton pregnancy enrolled in the Australian Collaborative Trial of Supplements with antioxidants Vitamin C and Vitamin E to pregnant women for the prevention of pre-eclampsia (ACTS). Women were categorized into three groups according to their body mass index (BMI): normal (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2); overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2) and; obese (BMI 30-34.9 kg/m2). Obstetric and perinatal outcomes were compared by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
Of the 1661 women included, 43% were overweight or obese. Obese women were at increased risk of pre-eclampsia (relative risk (RR) 2.99 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.88, 4.73], p < 0.0001) and gestational diabetes (RR 2.10 [95%CI 1.17, 3.79], p = 0.01) compared with women with a normal BMI. Obese and overweight women were more likely to be induced and require a caesarean section compared with women of normal BMI (induction - RR 1.33 [95%CI 1.13, 1.57], p = 0.001 and 1.78 [95%CI 1.51, 2.09], p < 0.0001, caesarean section - RR 1.42 [95%CI 1.18, 1.70], p = 0.0002 and 1.63 [95%CI 1.34, 1.99], p < 0.0001). Babies of women who were obese were more likely to be large for gestational age (LFGA) (RR 2.08 [95%CI 1.47, 2.93], p < 0.0001) and macrosomic (RR 4.54 [95%CI 2.01, 10.24], p = 0.0003) compared with those of women with a normal BMI.
Conclusion
The rate of overweight and obesity is increasing amongst the Australian obstetric population. Women who are overweight and obese have an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. In particular, obese women are at increased risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Effective preventative strategies are urgently needed.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00416244
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-56
PMCID: PMC2949787  PMID: 20849609

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