Prostaglandins before caesarean section for preventing neonatal respiratory distress
Nkengafac V Motaze1,2,*,Lawrence Mbuagbaw1,Taryn Young1
1. Yaoundé Central Hospital, Centre for Development of Best Practices in Health (CDBPH), Yaoundé, Centre Province, Cameroon
2. Stellenbosch University, Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Cape Town, South Africa
3. Stellenbosch University, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Cape Town, South Africa
4. South African Medical Research Council, South African Cochrane Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Motaze NV, Mbuagbaw L, Young T. Prostaglandins before caesarean section for preventing neonatal respiratory distress. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD010087. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010087.pub2
To read the full review please follow this link: DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010087.pub2
Respiratory difficulties in newborn babies are a common complication following birth. They are more frequent with caesarean section and when the pregnant woman is operated on before labour starts than when she is in labour. Prostaglandins are a group of substances that have been used successfully to induce labour in pregnant women. They also have the potential to help the lungs of the newborn to adapt to breathing air after delivery, by removing fluid from the lungs and increasing surfactant secretion. Caesarean sections are performed more frequently worldwide and it is important to find interventions that improve the newborn's breathing following this surgery.
We found one small randomised trial (involving 36 women) that compared prostaglandin E2 intravaginal gel administered before caesarean section compared with a placebo gel. The information obtained from this study did not permit us to be certain that prostaglandins improve neonatal breathing following planned caesarean section at term. Only one baby in the placebo group had respiratory distress assessed as rapid breathing. Further studies have to be carried out in order to find out the impact of prostaglandins on the newborn lungs after caesarean section.