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How Sex-Enhancing Drug Could Help Avoid Emergency Caesarean Deliveries

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A Cesarean delivery (also called a cesarean section or C-section) is the surgical delivery of a baby by an incision through the mother’s abdomen (belly) and uterus(womb).

Thousands of women need emergency c-section or instrument-assisted deliveries because their babies have become distressed during labour.

An obstetrician from the Mater Research Institute at the University of Queensland, Sailesh Kumar believes he has found a solution.

Kumar discovered that administering Viagra to women in labour could significantly reduce the chance of babies becoming distressed, therefore reducing the need for emergency c-sections.

During contractions, blood flow from mother to baby can drop by up to 60 percent. If adequate blood flow is not restored between contractions, the baby may become distressed because it is not receiving enough oxygen.

Sex enhancing drugs like Viagra, which contains active ingredient sildenafil citrate, dilate the pelvic blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the placenta and improves oxygen supply to the baby.

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Viagra

In a pilot trial, doctors gave the drug or a placebo to 300 Australian full-term pregnant women in labour and found the medication:

  • halved the rate of women needing an emergency caesarean
  • halved the use of forceps in delivering babies
  • cut the time spent in the later stages of labour by half

Sildenafil citrate has been used in a previous study in the Netherlands with women whose babies were severely underdeveloped and were considered at risk.

In that study, higher doses of the drug were given to the mothers much earlier in their pregnancy, but the research was abandoned after 11 babies developed lung problems and died.

Professor Kumar said his study had not shown any side effects in mothers or babies, but as a precaution he temporarily halted his trial to get more information about the Dutch study.

Professor Kumar and his team now hope to establish a larger study of nearly 8,500 women in labour to test their preliminary findings.

They have applied to the National Health and Medical Research Council for funding to gather more data on how many emergency deliveries can be avoided, and whether using the drug in labour results in better outcomes for the baby.

Via ABC News

 



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