When labor is induced in pregnant women, one in five women will require an emergency cesarean section. A study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica has demonstrated an effective way to predict such cases.
The strategy assesses the stiffness of the cervix before labor is induced, using an imaging technique called shear wave elastography. The method was tested in 475 women, 17.3% of whom required an emergency cesarean section.
"Our study suggests that in the future, ultrasonic assessment of the cervix may replace manual assessment in providing more objective and precise information on the condition of the cervix, which may lead to better management of induction of labor," said senior author Tak Yeung Leung, MD, MBChB, of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.