the notion that keeping baby in the womb for full time is beneficial,
scientists have now said that use of drugs to delay preterm labour may actually
be harmful for both mother and child.
study claimed that preterm labour is the main cause of perinatal illness and
death in the developed world.
drugs, known as tocolytics, are used to delay delivery for up to 48 hours, so
that doctors can get time administer steroids to speed up the baby's lung
development, transfer the mother to a centre with a neonatal intensive care
unit, or both.
study, the researchers assessed the rate of serious maternal complications in
1920 women treated for preterm labour with tocolytic drugs at 28 hospitals in
The Netherlands and Belgium.
And it was
found that the overall incidence of adverse reactions to a tocolytic drug was
researchers discovered increased problems when the tocolytics were delivered in
a multi-drug regimen.
needed intensive care treatment after being subjected to this treatment, which
the experts point out has "no proven benefit."
to the authors of the study, further trials into tocolytic drugs need to be
undertaken, but in the meantime they suggested that one should discourage
30 years of research we still do not know whether tocolysis benefits the
foetus," Discovery News quoted Professor Roger Smith, director of the Mothers
and Babies Research Center at the Hunter Medical Research Insititute in
Newcastle, Australia, as saying in an accompanying editorial with the study.
said that the decision to use tocolysis "should not be taken
evidence ... alongside improvements in neonatal care mean that the old
assumption that ''''keeping the baby inside longer must be a good thing'''' can
no longer go unchallenged," they said.
appears as an editorial in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal in
response to a study that appears in the same edition.