News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Hard labour under investigation

Hard labour under investigation

13 November 2012

With as many as a 30 percent of pregnant women in Australia experiencing a caesarean birth, a study led by researchers from the University of Sydney aims to determine if there is a link between high levels of lactate in amniotic fluid and difficult labours which may end with a caesarean section.

Lead investigator Sally Tracy, Professor of Midwifery at Sydney Nursing School at the University of Sydney, says like any other muscle in our body, it appears that the female uterus produces lactic acid when it is tired. There is compelling evidence that a raised lactate level in the uterine muscle leads to inhibition of muscle contractions, resulting in poor or uncoordinated contractions and a lack of progress in labour or dysfunctional labour.

By monitoring the amniotic fluid lactate levels during labour, it may be possible to determine which women are likely to experience a dysfunctional labour due to uterine muscle fatigue, says Professor Tracy.
A study based at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick aims to investigate the relationship between higher concentrations of amniotic fluid lactate and the diagnosis of labour dystocia. The research will build on the pioneering work recently undertaken in this area in the UK and Sweden.
While lack of progress in labour, or dystocia, is a common childbirth problem, the lack of a precise definition leads to considerable variation in clinical practice.
Professor Tracy says: “The research will be critical in determining if lactate can be used as a surrogate marker to improve the diagnosis and treatment of dystocia.”

It will allow better clinical decisions to be made and add knowledge to our understanding of how labour progresses, as well as adding a new level of precision around when and how to intervene.

“Most practitioners recognise and treat dystocia differently based on their own beliefs and experience without the certainty of a clear, consistent physiological marker to guide their decision-making,” says Professor Tracy.

The four-year research project, which was recently partially funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, will involve collecting small samples of amniotic fluid and measuring the concentration of lactate at predefined time intervals during the labour process when amniotic fluid is naturally expelled.

“Our research aims to determine the predictive value of amniotic fluid lactate concentration during labour with the decision to augment labour, and ascertain any confounders that influence lactate concentration in the amniotic fluid of the labouring women.”

If an association can be proved between the concentration of amniotic fluid lactate excreted during labour and the level of exhaustion of the uterine muscle, it will give midwives and obstetricians a clearer understanding of the how to help women to achieve a better birth outcome for themselves and their babies.

The research promises to be internationally significant, placing Australia at the forefront of applying recent advances in physiological research into lactate to the clinical setting.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

    Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news