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Health News Archive 719 - Cesarean sections
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Could Evening Primrose Oil Decrease the Need for Cesarean Sections?

Seventy-one pregnant Filipino women who were nearing term were randomly assigned to receive, in double-blind fashion, one capsule of evening primrose oil (EPO) three times per day (dose per capsule not specified) or placebo for one week. The mean Bishop score (a measure used to determine whether a woman is likely to have a successful vaginal delivery and whether labor should be induced) increased (improved) to a significantly greater extent in the EPO group than in the placebo group (3.68 vs. 1.51; p = 0.0001). The mean cervical length decreased to a significantly greater extent in the EPO group than in the placebo group (p = 0.001). The use of oxytocin was similar in both groups (EPO, 50%; placebo, 49%). Significantly more women delivered vaginally in the EPO group than in the placebo group (70% vs. 51%; p value not stated). EPO had no adverse effects on fetal safety, as determined by biophysical profile and non-stress test.

Comment by Alan Gaby, M.D.:

The results of this study suggest that Evening Primrose Oil may be useful as a cervical priming agent to enhance the success rate for vaginal delivery. Supplementation with EPO might therefore be a useful strategy for decreasing the cesarean section rate.

 

Source: Ty-Torredes KA. The effect of oral evening primrose oil on Bishop score and cervical length among term gravidas. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;195(6) (Suppl 1):530.

Reprinted with exclusive permission from The Townsend Letter, October 2007

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