New Test Helps Doctors Detect If A Mom-To-Be Will Need A C-Section

There has not been a lot of pharmaceutical advancement within the field of labor for the last sixty years, since the development of ‘synthetic’ Oxytocin. However researchers in Switzerland have recently discovered a test that enables Doctors to examine levels of lactic acid in amniotic fluid. The researches have found that a woman with high levels of lactic acid in their amniotic fluid indicates that they will be highly unlikely to deliver the child vaginally.


Measuring the levels of lactic acid would enable Doctors to make the decision to end a labor intensive pregnancy and begin the preparation for performing a caesarean.

Currently a handful of hospitals in the UK are using this test on their pregnant patients. More than half the caesarean procedures performed in the UK are due to emergency conditions. Identifying women before having to endure a long and painful labor that will end in a cesarean anyway will allow Doctors to perform the caesarean right away ensuring that the mother and the baby remain healthy.

Researchers at the Swedish company Obstecare developed the new technique and researchers at the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Women’s Hospital conducted the research.

What was found was that during labor the uterus produces levels of lactic acid when undergoing contractions. Like any other muscle in the body as the level of lactic acid increases the uterus muscle starts to tire and looses its ability to contract. At this point Doctors usually administer a dose of Oxytocin, which is designed to stimulate the uterus into contracting, however, not all women react favorable to the drug.

Johan Ubby of Obstecare commented by saying, “a high level of lactic acid in the amniotic fluid indicates that the uterus is exhausted. To stimulate this kind of labor with an Oxytocin infusion would be like asking a marathon runner to run an extra 10, 000 meters after he or she had passed the finish line”.

Once the uterus stops contraction a caesarean is needed to be performed in order for the baby to be born without further complication.

Administering this test will aid the doctors in determining whether or not to proceed with a natural birth, low levels of lactic acid, or to perform a caesarean if levels of lactic acid are too high.

Professor Donald Peebles a representative from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was reported saying, “I can definitely see the logic, and it would be straightforward to carry out. I would be interested in seeing a large prospective study where you could see the impact it had on the management of labor and whether overall outcomes were improved”.

Since researchers have discovered the ability to identify levels of lactic acid while women are in labor identifying those who will need a caesarean. Susan Wray from the center of Better Births believes that the next step would be to develop a means to rid the uterus of the lactic acid that inhibits labor. – Jeff, Staff Writer

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  • Jeff—you need to correct a HUGE ERROR in this article–Oxytocin was never “developed”–you mean “Pitocin,” which is also administered to induce labor. Oxytocin is a naturally-produced hormone that crosses the blood/brain barrier—pitocin is not.


  • Oxytocin is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body during labor. It helps to stimulate contractions and allows labor to progress. However, this hormone is also available in synthetic form and can be administered by your health care provider thereby inducing labor. It is given intravenously and the amount is adjusted every 15 to 30 minutes, in order to maintain the proper pace of labor. Oxytocin is often used in combination with a prostaglandin gel in order to induce labor.

  • Oxytocin, the “Love Hormone,” is produced by your body.

    Syntocin or Pitocin, the synthetic form of this hormone is not, and that is what is used to help induce labor. These do not cross the blood/brain barrier and therefore do not have the same effects on the woman as Oxytocin does. Effects that are missed with Pitocin/Syntocin are reductions in anxiety, feelings of contentment and feeling secure around your partner. Oxytocin also helps with immediate bonding that is so important. Synthetic drugs will not do this.

    Aside from this error in terminology, I actually find the article and the idea that lactic acid prohibits the uterus from contracting to be interesting. If it is true or not is to be debated, but the idea behind it totally makes sense to me.


  • There is no difference between naturally occuring oxytocin and oxytocin made in the lab and administered to a woman in labor. The medication (lab made oxytocin) is an exact replica and therefore bioidentical. Pitocin is just a brand name, so Pitocin is to Tylenol as oxytocin is to acetaminophen. Another brand name is Syntocinon, but is is still bioidentical to the oxytocin made in the body.If it were not the same, the manufacturers could not refer to the generic as oxytocin.

    There is so much incorrect information about oxytocin in the media and press. Bioidentical/lab oxytocin crosses the blood brain barrier. This has been well documented in animal studies. For example, giving IV oxytocin to rats stimulates maternal behavior. In addition, oxytocin has been studied for autism and the proposed mechanism of action certianly includes crossing the blood brain.

    The only difference is how oxytocin is released from the brain, in pulses, which differs from how it is infused in an IV because we just can’t replicate that release mechanism.

    The jury is still out on the test for lactic acid. More studies are needed, but it is interesting.


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