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Giving birth goes back to the thirties

Study finds a method of inducing labour from 80 years ago has fewer side effects than modern treatments

Posted: 25 October 2011
by Daniella Delaney
Pregnant women's bump wrapped up with a bow
Inducing labour the old-fashioned way was found to be kinder than modern methods

A method of inducing labour that was used in the 1930s has been found to work just as well as modern treatments, but with less side effects.

The Foley Catheter uses a balloom inserted into the womb which is then pumped up with saline solution to imitate the onset of labour.

It's effectiveness was tested against a hormone gel containing prostaglandin E2 - the most widely-used way of bringing on labour.

Both showed similar success rates in helping women to have natural births as opposed to surgical deliveries. But the catheter method led to fewer complications, less distress for the baby and lower infection rates in mothers, says the report published in The Lancet.

Using the catheter also reduced the number of operative deliveries because of foetal distress and led to fewer babies being admitted for special care.

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