Viagra could help prevent emergency C-sections and cut labor time by half, suggests study

An active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug can open up the pelvic blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the placenta and improving oxygen supply to the baby, researchers say


                            Viagra could help prevent emergency C-sections and cut labor time by half,  suggests study

Viagra may come to the rescue of women in labor who need an emergency C-section. A recent study has shown that it can avoid emergency C-sections and reduce the time spent in labor by half.

"If we were able to reduce the burden of this medical problem, we could potentially make a difference to overall perinatal outcomes, not just within Australia, but worldwide as well," Dr Sailesh Kumar, from the Mater Research Institute at the University of Queensland, the author of the current study, told ABC.

Women are rushed into emergency C-section when doctors observe a change in the baby's heart rate. If a baby’s heart rate goes up or down, the baby is considered to be in distress and doctors call for an emergency C-section.

During contractions, blood flow from mother to baby can drop by up to 60%, says the study. If adequate blood flow is not restored between contractions, the baby may become distressed because it is not receiving enough oxygen.

They found the viagra brought the rate of women needing an emergency caesarean and cut the time spent in the later stages of labour by 50%. (Getty Images)

This is where drugs like Viagra can help. An active ingredient in the erectile dysfunction drug, sildenafil citrate, can open up the pelvic blood vessels, increasing blood flow to the placenta, thereby improving oxygen supply to the baby, researchers say.

Viagra was tested before in the Netherlands but the results were discouraging. Higher doses of the drug was tested in women whose babies were severely underdeveloped and were considered at risk. The study was halted after 11 babies developed lung problems and died.

Commenting on the previous study, Kumar says both the studies have marked differences. He adds, "I don't think that both studies are directly comparable."

Kumar and team wanted to test if women who are on this drug actually have better outcomes for their babies.

So they recruited 300 Australian full-term pregnant women in labor for the study. Of the 300 women, some were given Viagra and the rest were put on placebo. The researchers found that Viagra brought the rate of women needing an emergency cesarean down and cut the time spent in the later stages of labor by 50%.

To test their initial findings on a larger scale, Kumar and his team hope to establish a larger study of nearly 8,500 women. "We want to see if women who are on this drug actually have better outcomes for their babies," Kumar told ABC.

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.