Misoprostol in the management of the third stage of labour in the home delivery setting in rural Gambia; a randomised controlled trial.


OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of 600 microg oral misoprostol on postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and postpartum anaemia in a low income country home birth situation. DESIGN: Double blind randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Twenty-six villages in rural Gambia with 52 traditional birth attendants (TBAs). SAMPLE: One thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine women delivering at home under the guidance of a trained TBA. METHODS: Active management of the third stage of labour using three 200-microg misoprostol tablets and placebo or four 0.5-mg ergometrine tablets (standard treatment) and placebo. Tablets were taken orally immediately after delivery. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Measured blood loss, postpartum haemoglobin (Hb), difference between Hb at the last antenatal care visit and three to five days postpartum. RESULTS: The misoprostol group experienced lower incidence of measured blood loss > or =500 mL and postpartum Hb or = 2 g/dL was 16.4% with misoprostol and 21.2% with ergometrine [relative risk 0.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60-0.98; P= 0.02]. Shivering was significantly more common with misoprostol, while vomiting was more common with ergometrine. Only transient side effects were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Six hundred micrograms of oral misoprostol is a promising drug to prevent life-threatening PPH in this setting.


British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2005) 112 (9) 1277-83 [doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2005.00711.x]

Published 1 January 2005