Taking melatonin before labour could improve the success rate of inductions and cut delivery times, reducing the risks for mother and child.
Melatonin, a natural substance that our body produces, is important during labour as it makes muscles work more effectively during contractions. When muscles are working better, labour is shorter.
Role of melatonin in labour
Melatonin is a natural sleep-regulating chemical that also plays a part in childbirth. When a woman goes into labour, the hormone, oxytocin, stimulates her uterus to contract. Melatonin, which is also a hormone, works in tandem with oxytocin, enhancing and regulating contractions.
Around 700 pregnant women are needed to participate in the randomised trial by Hudson Institute and Monash Health. Half the participants will take two melatonin pills before labour, while the other half will take a placebo.
The outcomes of the trial led by Dr Miranda Davies-Tuck could be ground-breaking for pregnancies where induction is needed.
Inductions are carried out when a baby is overdue or when other pregnancy complications arise. However, they can be painful and one quarter require an emergency caesarean.
“In our trial, women who are induced may have the same benefits as women whose labour occurs naturally, such as shorter, maybe less painful labours,” Dr Davies-Tuck said.
To enquire about registering for the trial, or to find out more,
Collaborator: Monash Health
Hudson Institute communications
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