A study led by the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group suggests that the use of other drugs, with oxytocin, has a greater effect of preventing postpartum haemorrhage than just oxytocin alone.
Researchers from the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group reviewed the data of 88,947 women who took part in 140 randomised trials.
The trials were mostly carried out in hospital settings and recruited women who were more than 37 weeks of gestation and having a vaginal birth.
The study showed that ergometrine and oxytocin; misoprostol and oxytocin; and carbetocin on its own had a great impact on reducing excessive bleeding after childbirth.
Furthermore, the research found that ergometrine plus oxytocin and misoprostol plus oxytocin were the worst for side effects, with carbetocin having the least side effects.
University of Birmingham Clinician Scientist, of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, and leading Author of the study told Science Daily: “Whilst death from postpartum haemorrhage is a rare complication, it is the most common reasons why mothers die in childbirth worldwide and happens because a woman’s womb has not contracted strongly enough after birth and results in excessive bleeding.
“By analysing data from 140 different clinical trials involving over 88,000 women, we have been able to use the evidence more efficiently to compare all of these drugs and calculate a ranking among them, providing robust effectiveness and side-effect profiles for each drug.”
In current practice, routine administration of the uterotonic drug oxytocin is given to women which contracts the uterus to reduce excessive bleeding.
In 2015, 303,000 women worldwide died during childbirth with postpartum haemorrhage accounting for up to a third of these.
Almost all deaths occurred in low or middle-income countries.
The research ‘Uterotonic agents for preventing postpartum haemorrhage: a network meta-analysis’ can be found here.
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