Viagra could hold the key to helping women avoid emergencies during childbirth

Viagra could be the key to avoiding emergency c-sections and reducing labour times by half, according to a new study. 

Research by the Mater Research Institute in Queensland showed a 50 per cent reduction in emergency births in women who take Sildenafil, also known as Viagra, in the early stages of labour. 

Blood flow to the fetus can drop by 60 per cent during childbirth which can result in dangerous and traumatic caesareans or forceps delivery.

Professor Sailesh Kumar said the erectile dysfunction drug increases blood flow to the pelvis for men and women and could enhance the blood flow to the uterus and placenta during childbirth.

Viagra increases blood flow to the pelvis which can help increase the flow of oxygen to the baby's brain during childbirth (stock image)

Viagra increases blood flow to the pelvis which can help increase the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain during childbirth (stock image)

‘Increasing blood flow improves the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the baby and this may reduce the risk of the baby becoming distressed in labour,’ he said. 

If blood flow is not restored, the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain can become compromised and result in health issues such as cerebral palsy. 

‘Emergency caesarean births are associated with poorer results for both the mother and baby,’ said Professor Kumar. 

‘So these preliminary results showing a decrease in emergency caesareans using Sildenafil is very promising.’

Viagra (pictured) could be used to reduce the number of emergency births

Viagra (pictured) could be used to reduce the number of emergency births

A trial revealed Viagra halved the number of women needing emergency c-sections, halved the need for forceps delivery and cut time spent during the later stages of labour by half, reported the ABC.

A similar study in the Netherlands last year gave women higher doses of the drug earlier in pregnancy.

The study was abandoned after 11 babies died from lung problems.

The Queensland study was paused while researchers gathered more information about the Dutch trial.

The trial will continue over the next year and 230 women have participated so far (stock image)

The trial will continue over the next year and 230 women have participated so far (stock image)

Professor Kumar said there are differences between the two studies and he hasn’t seen any side effects so far.  

Two hundred and thirty women have taken part in the randomised trial.

Another 200 will be recruited over the next year.

WHAT IS VIAGRA?

Viagra is a prescription medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. 

It allows blood to flow into the penis and causes an erection.

The drug was designed for men and is not recommended for women looking to increase their libido.

It can also be used to treat high blood pressure.

Some side effects include rashes, diarrhoea and urinary tract infections.

Viagra can also be added to the water of cut flowers and makes them stand up straight for a week longer.

Source:  University of Sydney and Health Direct

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