Study at Rabin Medical Center On Induced Labor Shows No Harm to Mothers & Babies

Article from Medical XPress, September 1, 2016

In a study was published on August 8, 2016, in the Archives of Gynaecology and Obstetrics;
Tel Aviv University study has determined that natural, spontaneous deliveries and induced deliveries following the rupture of the amniotic sac in the mother share similar neonatal outcomes, contradicting common wisdom.

Dr. Liran Hiersch, led the study on Induced labor along with Dr. Eran Ashwal, both from the Helen Schneider Hospital for Women at Rabin Medical Center and Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. "People have an idea that everything natural is better, including childbirth. But induction is not necessarily more dangerous for mother and child than Mother Nature herself."

Most expectant mothers are warned about artificially induced deliveries, saying that it may cause a low fetal heart rate, an increased risk of infection to mother and baby, and uterine rupture or excessive bleeding after delivery. "We have found that induction produces healthy mothers and infants, with risk factors similar to those of spontaneous deliveries," Dr. Hiersch said.

The researchers evaluated the perinatal outcome of 625 women admitted to Rabin Medical Center in Israel with prolonged (24-hour) premature rupture of membranes or water breakage. Women who did not exhibit the spontaneous onset of labor within 24 hours from the moment their water broke underwent prostaglandin induction. These were then compared to those women who did develop the spontaneous onset of labor within 24 hours of being admitted. No significant difference was found between the groups regarding maternal age, parity and obstetrical complications.

Women in the induction group were found to be at an increased risk for Caesarean section (CS), but researchers believe this was due mainly to blocked birth canals and not the induction itself.
Artificial induction is a possibility for all expectant mothers who have approached two weeks past their delivery date, who experience high blood pressure or diabetes, who have a uterine infection or who simply haven't experienced contractions despite their water having broken. These women are often hospitalized for 24 hours. But after 24 hours have passed without natural delivery, most medical professionals will induce labor artificially to reduce subsequent risks to mother and child.

"There is a palpable fear among women who are waiting for the contractions to begin," said Dr. Hiersch. "They fear fetal distress, they fear infection, umbilical cord trouble, but we have found no basis for their fears. These mothers should be assured that induced labor poses no increased risk to the health of their babies and themselves.""This study gives us, medical professionals, the reassurance needed to continue doing what we do. Hopefully, it will also reassure our patients, which is equally important," Dr. Hiersch concluded.

Dr. Hiersch is currently working on finding variables that predict which women may spontaneously go into labor following the premature rupture  of membranes.

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