How bicarbonate of soda could help in labour

A new study suggests this simple cupboard staple could assist women who are not progressing in labour to go on to have a vaginal birth

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A new study, from the University of Liverpool with Karolinska Institute in Sweden, suggests women could have an increased chance of vaginal birth if they are given bicarbonate of soda during labour.

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200 women who were struggling to progress in labour received the drug oxytocin, and another 100 women, also struggling to progress, received both oxytocin and bicarbonate of soda.

Those who were given both the oxytocin and bicarbonate of soda were 17% more likely to have a vaginal birth (we have to say, we can’t find out, even in the original study, the actual amount of women who did have vaginal births in both groups).

“The outcome was really amazing,” Professor Susan Wray told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

“We were able to significantly increase the number of women having a spontaneous vaginal delivery, avoiding the caesarean section.”

The professor reckons the bicarb of soda (given in drink form) is more effective than oxytocin as it rectifies acidity around the womb.

Mervi Jokinen, practice and standards development advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), told the Huffington Post she found the research “interesting”.

“It could be a simple and cheap intervention that could potentially have a significant and positive impact for women who are not progressing in labour, and to help avoid unnecessary caesarean sections.

“However, it is a small study and more research will need to be done to establish how effective it is before it becomes an evidence-based recommendation.”

We should also note that pregnant women definitely SHOULDN’T start drinking bicarbonate of soda of their own accord, without medical advice.

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