Viagra may reduce premature births

The impotence drug Viagra is being used in a clinical trial to reduce premature births by helping babies stay longer in the womb.

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Pregnant women whose babies have growth-restriction problems – a condition affecting one in 12 births in the UK – are being given the drug in a new trial.

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The aim is to increase blood supply to the womb and placenta so that more nutrients and oxygen reach the foetus. This helps it to continue growing in the womb, avoiding the health problems that result from premature birth.

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Foetal growth restriction is the medical term for a baby inside the womb being smaller than expected for the number of weeks of pregnancy. This may be caused by the mother having high blood pressure, advanced diabetes or heart disease. Smoking and alcohol intake are also factors.

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