Sunday September 23, 2018

Epidurals Can be Cut Into Half, with the Help of a New Labour Pain Relieving Drug

It did not cause any negative effects for the mother or baby.

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Tokophobia
Tokophobia is a mental condition defined as a severe fear or dread of childbirth. Flickr
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Prescribing women a new drug called remifentanil to help manage their labour pain may halve the need for an epidural than the traditional pethidine, claims a study.

The study, published in the Lancet, suggested that using remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals, instrumental deliveries and consequent morbidity for large numbers of women worldwide.

Epidurals — injections of pain relief drugs around the spinal cord — provide effective pain relief but increase the risk of needing instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) during birth.

It can also increase the risk of trauma and long-lasting problems for the mother, such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

“Our findings challenge the routine use of pethidine for pain relief during labour,” said lead author Matthew Wilson, from Britain’s University of Sheffield.

"Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies
“Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies. Pixabay

“Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies in our trial, although the effect of remifentanil on maternal oxygen levels needs to be clarified in further studies,” he added.

Remifentanil is rarely offered routinely in labour and its use restricted to women who cannot receive an epidural for medical reasons (such as blood clotting disorders).

Conversely, pethidine has been in widespread use since the 1950s, even after long been known not helpful to all women.

The study included 400 women aged over 16 years old who were giving birth after 37 weeks.

Only half as many women in the remifentanil group went on to have an epidural (19 per cent) than in the pethidine group (41 per cent).

Remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals. Flickr
Remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals. Flickr

These women rated their pain as less severe and also had less likely to need forceps and vacuum during labour than women given pethidine (15 per cent vs 26 per cent).

Also Read: Obesity During Pregnancy May up Kid’s Risk of Epilepsy

However, remifentanil was associated with twice as many mothers having low oxygen levels than pethidine (14 per cent vs 5 per cent)

But, despite this increase it did not cause any negative effects for the mother or baby, but more research in larger groups will be needed to confirm this, the researchers said.(IANS)

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Novel Blood Test May Predict Autism Risk in Babies During Pregnancy

These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism

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Pregnancy, autism
New blood test in pregnancy to predict autism risk in babies. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel blood test for pregnant mothers that can, with nearly 90 per cent accuracy rate, predict the probability of having a child that will be diagnosed with autism.

According to studies, if a mother has previously had a child with autism, the risk of having a second child with the developmental disorder is approximately 18.7 per cent, whereas the risk in the general population is approximately 1.7 per cent.

In the study, led by Juergen Hahn, Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, metabolites of the folate-dependent transmethylation and transsulfuration biochemical pathways of pregnant mothers were measured to determine whether or not the risk of having a child with autism could be predicted by her metabolic profile.

Pregnant mothers who have had a child with autism before were separated into two groups based on the diagnosis of their child whether the child had autism or not.

Pregnancy
Representational image. Pixabay

Then these mothers were compared to a group of control mothers who have not had a child with autism before.

The results, appearing in the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, showed that while it is not possible to determine during a pregnancy if a child will be diagnosed with autism by age 3, they did find that differences in the plasma metabolites are indicative of the relative risk (18.7 per cent vs 1.7 per cent) for having a child with autism.

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“These are exciting results as they hint at differences in some metabolic processes that potentially play a role in increasing the risk of having a child with autism,” Hahn said.

“However, it would be highly desirable if a prediction based upon physiological measurements could be made to determine which risk group a prospective mother falls into,” Hahn noted. (IANS)