- Bicarb causes 17% to 20% of women having hard labours to give birth vaginally
- The kitchen staple neutralises acid in the uterus, encouraging natural labour
- Bicarb is a simple, cheap way to improve women’s wellbeing during childbirth
- Around one in four births in the UK are carried out via Caesarean section
- Usually harmless, they can cause blood clots, excessive bleeding and infections
Bicarbonate of soda helps women avoid Caesarean-sections, research reveals.
When dissolved in water, the kitchen staple enables between 17 and 20 per cent of women having slow or difficult labours to give birth naturally, without harming their babies, a study found.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today show this morning, study author Professor Susan Wray from the University of Liverpool explained bicarb neutralises acids in the uterus, which increases women’s likelihood of giving birth vaginally.
The bicarbonate used is the standard type available in supermarkets.
Around one-in-four births in the UK is carried out via c-section. Although usually safe, the procedure can cause blood clots, excessive bleeding and womb infections.
Bicarbonate of soda helps women avoid Caesarean-sections, research reveals (stock)
The kitchen staple enables between 17 and 20 per cent of women having slow or difficult labours to give birth naturally, without harming their babies (stock)
BREASTFEEDING REDUCES WOMEN’S RISK OF PAIN AFTER A C-SECTION BY THREE TIMES
Breastfeeding reduces the discomfort of painful Caesarean sections, research revealed in June last year.
Mothers who breastfeed for at least two months after a c-section are three times less likely to experience persistent pain than those who do so for a shorter period of time, the study found.
Some 23 per cent of women who breastfeed for less than two months report pain at the site of their c-section versus just eight per cent who breastfeed for longer, the research adds.
Anxiety significantly increases a woman’s risk of suffering discomfort after the operation, the study also revealed.
Caesarean sections make up around 25 per cent of all births in the UK and US.
One in five mothers undergoing the procedure suffer pain that lasts beyond three months.
How the research was carried out
The researchers, which included scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, analysed 200 women who had difficult or slow labours.
Some of the women then drank water containing bicarbonate of soda.
One hour later, they were given the hormone oxytocin, which is the standard-of-care during slow deliveries and causes the uterus to contract.
Those not given bicarb were administered oxytocin immediately.
‘You can buy bicarb – it’s really low rent’
The researchers believe consuming bicarb is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the wellbeing of mothers during labour all over the world.
Professor Wray told the Today show: ‘You can buy bicarb as an antacid.
‘It’s really low rent. You can buy it if you feel a little bit hungover, heaven forbid, or if you feel you’ve got indigestion.’
The findings were published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.