December 06, 2016
As any woman who has delivered a baby will tell you, the last days and hours of pregnancy tend to feel longer than the many months that came before.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now found a new, medically backed method to speed up the labor process.
The solution to quicker labor induction, according to the new Penn study, is found in combining two common induction methods already used singularly by obstetricians: a balloon catheter known as the Foley catheter along with a prostaglandin-like drug called misoprostol.
By using the dual method, the researchers found that a woman's time spent in labor was reduced by an average of four hours, from more than 17 hours for those who used only one of the methods to within 13 hours after the two previously mentioned methods were used together.
To complete the study, the Penn team commissioned the help of about 500 pregnant women who were already scheduled for labor induction at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and then randomly assigned them different induction treatment plans.
The findings are not only convenient in helping induce labor more quickly, and, therefore, reduce pain but can also be a cost-saving measure for hospitals since quicker labor means less time spent under the hospital's care.
Read more on the study here.