Researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada have investigated the use of glucose to shorten labor in nulliparous (first time giving birth) women. The essential effect studied was the length of active labor.
Prolonged labor may be damaging to maternal and fetal health. Few clinical interventions are recognized to shorten labor period. Since muscle efficiency is known to be improved by glucose supplementation, the researchers tested whether or not adding glucose to the intravenous hydration solution females have during labor might accelerate labor. Two hundred pregnant women had been randomly assigned to obtain either a normal hydration solution containing salt and water or a solution containing glucose, salt and water.
The researchers observed that the median length of labor is 76 minutes shorter in the group of females receiving glucose. There was no change within the mode of delivery (cesarean section, forceps, and so forth.), or the neonatal health measures. Glucose supplementation greatly reduces the length of labor without having complications. This is good information for women experiencing induced labor.
The researchers concluded that, given the affordable cost and safety of this intervention, glucose should be the solute of choice during labor.
Prolonged labor is also known as failure to progress and means that labor has lasted for 20 hours or more for first time mothers and 14 hours or more for women who had pregnancies before. This usually happens when there is a prolonged latent phase during the first stage of labor. It is a stressful experience for both the mom and baby.
If prolonged labor happens during the active phase of labor, it can lead to complications and the cause should be determined. There are many possible causes for this, one is when the baby is too large that it cannot pass into the birth canal. The other reason may be that the birth canal may be too small for the baby to pass. Multiple pregnancies can also prolong the active phase of labor, which may be due to weak uterine contractions or positioning of the baby. Other factors that can result to prolonged labor include too much fear, worry or stress on the part of the mother, and the use of pain medicines that can weaken or slow down uterine contractions.
The results of this study are significant in that it is able to provide a good solution for prolonged labor during the active labor phase. Fortunately, if this is adopted by hospitals and maternity centers, it can reduce some complications which are typically brought about by prolongation in the active phase of labor.
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