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1.  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
2.  The role of progesterone in prevention of preterm birth 
Preterm birth continues to provide an enormous challenge in the delivery of perinatal health care, and is associated with considerable short and long-term health consequences for surviving infants. Progesterone has a role in maintaining pregnancy, by suppression of the calcium–calmodulin–myosin light chain kinase system. Additionally, progesterone has recognized anti-inflammatory properties, raising a possible link between inflammatory processes, alterations in progesterone receptor expression and the onset of preterm labor. Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials evaluating the use of intramuscular and vaginal progesterone in women considered to be at increased risk of preterm birth have been published, with primary outcomes of perinatal death, preterm birth <34 weeks, and neurodevelopmental handicap in childhood. Eleven randomized controlled trials were included in the systematic review, involving 2714 women and 3452 infants, with results presented according to the reason women were considered to be at increased risk of preterm birth. While there is a potential beneficial effect in the use of progesterone for some women considered to be at increased risk of preterm birth, primarily in the reduction in the risk of preterm birth before 34 weeks gestation, it remains unclear if the observed prolongation of pregnancy translates into improved health outcomes for the infant.
PMCID: PMC2971700  PMID: 21072277
progesterone; preterm birth; systematic review; randomized trial
3.  Exercise in obese pregnant women: positive impacts and current perceptions 
Overweight and obesity have significant implications during pregnancy and childbirth. The objective of this review was to provide a comprehensive overview of the effect of physical activity on pregnancy outcomes, the change of physical activity during pregnancy, and women’s perception of being physically active during pregnancy, with a particular focus on women who are overweight or obese. Many studies have investigated the beneficial effect of exercise during pregnancy, including reduced risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and operative birth, in addition to improved cardiovascular function, overall fitness, psychological well-being, and mood stability. Benefits for the infant include reduced risks of prematurity and improved fetal growth, although there is more limited information about longer-term health benefits for both women and infants. The existing literature examining physical activity patterns during pregnancy has generally focused on women of all body mass index categories, consistently indicating a reduction in activity over the course of pregnancy. However, the available literature evaluating physical activity during pregnancy among women who are overweight or obese is more limited and contradictory. A number of studies identified barriers preventing women from being active during pregnancy, including pregnancy symptoms, lack of time, access to child care, and concerns about their safety and that of their unborn baby. Conversely, significant enablers included positive psychological feelings, family influence, and receiving advice from health professionals. Very few studies have provided insights about perceptions of being active during pregnancy in the overweight and obese population. There is a need for a detailed description of physical activity patterns during pregnancy in women who are overweight or obese, and more randomized trials evaluating exercise interventions for women who are overweight or obese, with a focus on clinical outcomes.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S34042
PMCID: PMC3704399  PMID: 23861603
pregnancy; exercise; physical activity; overweight; obesity
4.  Developing a tool for obtaining maternal skinfold thickness measurements and assessing inter-observer variability among pregnant women who are overweight and obese 
Background
It is estimated that between 34% and 50% of Australian women entering pregnancy are overweight and obese, which is associated with an increased risk in complications for both the woman and her infant. Current tools used in clinical and research practice for measuring body composition include body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and bioimpedance analysis. Not all of these measures are applicable for use during pregnancy due to a lack of differentiation between maternal and fetal contributions. While skinfold thickness measurement (SFTM) is increasingly being used in pregnancy, there is limited data and a lack of a standard tool for its use in overweight and obese pregnant women.
Methods
We developed a standard tool for evaluating SFTM among women with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2. Forty-nine women were measured as part of a prospective cohort study nested within a multicentre randomised controlled trial (The LIMIT Randomised Controlled Trial). Two blinded observers each performed 2 skinfold measurements on the biceps, triceps and subscapular of each woman. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and standard error of measurement (SEM) were used to analyse SFTM, body fat percentage (BF%) and inter-observer variability.
Results
The ICC for inter-observer variability in measurements were considered moderate for biceps SFTM (ICC = 0.56) and triceps SFTM (ICC = 0.51); good for subscapular SFTM (ICC = 0.71) and BF% (ICC = 0.74); and excellent for arm circumference (ICC = 0.97). The standard error of measurements ranged from 0.53 cm for arm circumference to 3.58 mm for the subscapular SFTM.
Conclusion
Our findings indicate that arm circumference and biceps, triceps and subscapular SFTM can be reliably obtained from overweight and obese pregnant women to calculate BF%, using multiple observers, and can be used in a research setting.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12607000161426
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-42
PMCID: PMC3583701  PMID: 23418751
Overweight; Obese; Anthropometric measurements; Body composition; Inter-observer variability; Pregnancy
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Progesterone after previous preterm birth for prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (PROGRESS): a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, as a consequence of preterm birth, is a major cause of early mortality and morbidity during infancy and childhood. Survivors of preterm birth continue to remain at considerable risk of both chronic lung disease and long-term neurological handicap. Progesterone is involved in the maintenance of uterine quiescence through modulation of the calcium-calmodulin-myosin-light-chain-kinase system in smooth muscle cells. The withdrawal of progesterone, either actual or functional is thought to be an antecedent to the onset of labour. While there have been recent reports of progesterone supplementation for women at risk of preterm birth which show promise in this intervention, there is currently insufficient data on clinically important outcomes for both women and infants to enable informed clinical decision-making.
The aims of this randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial are to assess whether the use of vaginal progesterone pessaries in women with a history of previous spontaneous preterm birth will reduce the risk and severity of respiratory distress syndrome, so improving their infant's health, without increasing maternal risks.
Methods
Design: Multicentred randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Inclusion Criteria: pregnant women with a live fetus, and a history of prior preterm birth at less than 37 weeks gestation and greater than 20 weeks gestation in the immediately preceding pregnancy, where onset of labour occurred spontaneously, or in association with cervical incompetence, or following preterm prelabour ruptured membranes.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: After obtaining written informed consent, eligible women will be randomised between 18 and 23+6 weeks gestation using a central telephone randomisation service. The randomisation schedule prepared by non clinical research staff will use balanced variable blocks, with stratification according to plurality of the pregnancy and centre where planned to give birth. Eligible women will be randomised to either vaginal progesterone or vaginal placebo.
Study Medication & Treatment Schedules: Treatment packs will appear identical. Woman, caregivers and research staff will be blinded to treatment allocation.
Primary Study Outcome: Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (defined by incidence and severity).
Sample Size: of 984 women to show a 40% reduction in respiratory distress syndrome from 15% to 9% (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Discussion
This is a protocol for a randomised trial.
Clinical Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN20269066
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-9-6
PMCID: PMC2653463  PMID: 19239712
10.  Birth after caesarean study – planned vaginal birth or planned elective repeat caesarean for women at term with a single previous caesarean birth: protocol for a patient preference study and randomised trial 
Background
For women who have a caesarean section in their preceding pregnancy, two care policies for birth are considered standard: planned vaginal birth and planned elective repeat caesarean. Currently available information about the benefits and harms of both forms of care are derived from retrospective and prospective cohort studies. There have been no randomised trials, and recognising the deficiencies in the literature, there have been calls for methodologically rigorous studies to assess maternal and infant health outcomes associated with both care policies.
The aims of our study are to assess in women with a previous caesarean birth, who are eligible in the subsequent pregnancy for a vaginal birth, whether a policy of planned vaginal birth after caesarean compared with a policy of planned repeat caesarean affects the risk of serious complications for the woman and her infant.
Methods/Design
Design: Multicentred patient preference study and a randomised clinical trial.
Inclusion Criteria: Women with a single prior caesarean presenting in their next pregnancy with a single, live fetus in cephalic presentation, who have reached 37 weeks gestation, and who do not have a contraindication to a planned VBAC.
Trial Entry & Randomisation: Eligible women will be given an information sheet during pregnancy, and will be recruited to the study from 37 weeks gestation after an obstetrician has confirmed eligibility for a planned vaginal birth. Written informed consent will be obtained. Women who consent to the patient preference study will be allocated their preference for either planned VBAC or planned, elective repeat caesarean. Women who consent to the randomised trial will be randomly allocated to either the planned vaginal birth after caesarean or planned elective repeat caesarean group.
Treatment Groups: Women in the planned vaginal birth group will await spontaneous onset of labour whilst appropriate. Women in the elective repeat caesarean group will have this scheduled for between 38 and 40 weeks.
Primary Study Outcome: Serious adverse infant outcome (death or serious morbidity).
Sample Size: 2314 women in the patient preference study to show a difference in adverse neonatal outcome from 1.6% to 3.6% (p = 0.05, 80% power).
Clinical Trial Registration
ISCTRN5397431
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-17
PMCID: PMC1988834  PMID: 17697343
11.  Oral misoprostol for induction of labour at term: randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;332(7540):509-513.
Objective To compare oral misoprostol solution with vaginal prostaglandin gel (dinoprostone) for induction of labour at term to determine whether misoprostol is superior.
Design Randomised double blind placebo controlled trial.
Setting Maternity departments in three hospitals in Australia.
Population Pregnant women with a singleton cephalic presentation at ≥ 36+6 weeks' gestation, with an indication for prostaglandin induction of labour.
Interventions 20 μg oral misoprostol solution at ourly intervals and placebo vaginal gel or vaginal dinoprostone gel at six hourly intervals and placebo oral solution.
Main outcome measures Vaginal birth within 24 hours; uterine hyperstimulation with associated changes in fetal heart rate; caesarean section (all); and caesarean section for fetal distress.
Results 741 women were randomised, 365 to the misoprostol group and 376 to the vaginal dinoprostone group. There were no significant differences between the two treatment groups in the primary outcomes: vaginal birth not achieved in 24 hours (misoprostol 168/365 (46.0%) v dinoprostone 155/376 (41.2%); relative risk 1.12, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.32; P = 0.134), caesarean section (83/365 (22.7%) v 100/376 (26.6%); 0.82, 0.64 to 1.06; P = 0.127), caesarean section for fetal distress (32/365 (8.8%) v 35/376 (9.3%); 0.91, 0.57 to 1.44; P = 0.679), or uterine hyperstimulation with changes in fetal heart rate (3/365 (0.8%) v 6/376 (1.6%); 0.55, 0.14 to 2.21; P = 0.401). Although there were differences in the process of labour induction, there were no significant differences in adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes.
Conclusions This trial shows no evidence that oral misoprostol is superior to vaginal dinoprostone for induction of labour. However, it does not lead to poorer health outcomes for women or their infants, and oral treatment is preferred by women.
Trial registration National Health and Medical Research Council, Perinatal Trials, PT0361.
doi:10.1136/bmj.38729.513819.63
PMCID: PMC1388124  PMID: 16455695
12.  Hospitalisation for bed rest for women with a triplet pregnancy: an abandoned randomised controlled trial and meta-analysis 
Background
This abandoned randomised controlled trial assessed the effects of hospitalisation from 24 to 30 weeks gestation for women with a triplet pregnancy on the risk of preterm birth.
Methods
Women with a triplet pregnancy and no other condition necessitating hospital admission were approached for participation in the study, and randomised to either antenatal hospitalisation (hospitalised group), or to routine antenatal care (control group). The randomisation schedule used variable blocks with stratification by parity, and a researcher not involved with clinical care contacted by telephone to determine treatment allocation by opening the next in a series of consecutively numbered, opaque, sealed envelopes. Primary study outcomes were preterm birth (defined as birth less than 37 weeks gestation) and very preterm birth (defined as birth less than 34 weeks gestation), and the development of maternal pregnancy induced hypertension. The trial was ceased prior to achieving the calculated sample size due to difficulties in recruitment. The results of this randomised controlled trial were then combined with the results of another comparing bed rest in women with a triplet pregnancy.
Results
Seven women with a triplet pregnancy were recruited to the trial, with three randomised to the hospitalisation group, and four to the control group. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups for the primary outcomes birth before 37 weeks (3/3 hospitalisation group versus 4/4 control group; relative risk (RR) not estimable), birth before 34 weeks (3/3 hospitalisation group versus 2/4 control group; RR 2.00 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) 0.75–5.33) and pregnancy induced hypertension (1/3 hospitalisation group versus 1/4 control group; RR 1.33 95%CI 0.13–13.74).
When the results of this trial were incorporated into a meta-analysis with the previous randomised controlled trial assessing hospitalisation and bed rest for women with a triplet pregnancy, (total sample size 26 women and 78 infants), there were no statistically significant differences identified between the two groups.
Conclusion
The results of this trial and meta-analysis suggest no benefit of routine hospitalisation and bed rest for women with a triplet pregnancy to reduce the risk of preterm birth. The adoption or continuation of a policy of routine hospitalisation and bed rest for women with an uncomplicated triplet pregnancy cannot be recommended.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-5-8
PMCID: PMC1084350  PMID: 15804370

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