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Labor Induction May Lower Caesarean Delivery Rates

Half as many women offered induced labor have Caesareans compared to those not given the option

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Greater use of prostaglandin-induced labor may cut Caesarean delivery rates by half, researchers report in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

James Nicholson, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared birth outcomes and Caesarean delivery rates over four years in 794 women offered prostaglandin-induced labor with 1,075 non-exposed women not given the alternative.

The researchers found that 31.4 percent of women given the induced labor option had induced labor, 23.3 percent used prostaglandin, and 5.3 percent had Caesarean deliveries, versus 20.4 percent, 15.7 percent and 11.8 percent of non-exposed women, respectively.

"A preventive approach to reducing Caesarean deliveries may be possible," the authors write. "This study found that practitioners who often used risk-guided, prostaglandin-assisted labor induction had a lower Caesarean delivery rate without increases in rates of other adverse birth outcomes."

In an accompanying editorial, Aaron Caughey, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California San Francisco, notes that if studies back these findings, "scheduled induction of labor may provide a tool for clinicians delivering babies to decrease both the maternal and neonatal complications in term pregnancies."

The authors of this study report receiving financial support and supplies from Forest Pharmaceuticals.

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