NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A preventive strategy that uses the labor-inducing drug prostaglandin can safely reduce c-section rates, new research suggests.
C-section rates have been climbing in North America for a number of years, a trend that is concerning since complications can occur with the procedure, Dr. James M. Nicholson, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues note in the Annals of Family Medicine.
In the 1990s, the preventive induction approach was found to be useful in reducing c-section rates.
The goal of the present study was to compare c-section rates and delivery outcomes for doctors who did or did not use preventive induction. The study group included 794 women who had a doctor who used this approach and 1,075 women with a doctor who did not use this approach.
The researchers found that the induction group had a lower c-section rate compared with the group that did not undergo induction -- 5.3 percent versus 11.8 percent. There was no evidence that preventive induction raised the risk of any birth complications, the authors report.
In a related editorial, Dr. Aaron B. Caughey, from the University of California, San Francisco, comments that if further studies verify these results, preventive induction could be a useful technique for improving birth outcomes.
SOURCE: Annals of Family Medicine, July/August, 2007.