February 21, 2011

Breaking Water = Shorter Delivery Time?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Breaking a first-time mother's water when her labor is induced can shorten delivery time by 10-percent, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at 585 participants who were induced at or beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy. The women were randomized to early amniotomy or standard management. An amniotomy involves the artificial rupture of membranes, which is typically performed by a midwife or doctor.

Results showed early amniotomy (performed when the woman was 4 centimeters or less dilated) shortened the time from randomization to delivery by more than two hours and increased the proportion of women who delivered within 24 hours of randomization. These results held up without adversely impacting maternal or neonatal well-being.

"I think this offers the first bit of evidence that shows that by performing an amniotomy early in labor, you can shorten labor time by a significant amount with no ill effects to the mother or baby," George Macones, M.D., study author, was quoted as saying. "This greatly increases the comfort of the mother."

SOURCE: Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif., February 2011