INDUCTION OF LABOUR 

About 10% of pregnancies need to be induced in order to expedite vaginal delivery. This happens when the benefits of delivering the baby outweighs the risks  of continuing the pregnancy or awaiting spontaneous labour. 
*What are the indications for induction of labour? 
-Placenta insufficiency : when the placenta is diseased and no longer capable of supporting the foetus
-‎Prolonged pregnancy : beyond 41 weeks of gestation 
-Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) : when the foetus fails to gain weight, or loses weight due to constitutional, maternal or placental disease
– Premature rupture of membranes : when the “bag of water” breaks without any sign of labour after 24 hours (to avoid infection to the baby) 
– Intrauterine fetal death – to prevent the risk of toxicity or infection to the mother 
– Intrauterine infection (Chorioamnionitis) 
– Unexplained antepartum hemorrhage 
– Potential or presumed fetal macrosomia : increasing growth beyond 4kg, especially in diabetic mothers
– Medical diseases in the mother : such as severe hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, cardiac or renal diseases, cancers, etc. 
*What are the methods for inducing labour? 
Before induction of labour, it is important to assess the cervix to determine its “ripeness”, ie. to predict whether induction is likely to succeed or fail. Predictors of a successful induction includes advanced gestational age (above 37weeks) and multiparity (having delivered by vagina in the past). 
The cervix can be ripened through medical and non-medical methods. There is limited evidence to support the efficacy of non-medical methods (eg. Sexual intercourse, nipple stimulation, herbal mixtures, dates, castor oil, etc.) 
The medical methods of ripening are :

1. Mechanical methods –  this includes using the finger to “stretch and sweep” the cervix and/or insertion of a catheter into the cervical canal. 
2. Pharmacological methods – use of chemical agents (prostaglandins and oxytocin) 
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Certain parameters are used by the midwives/physicians to “score” the ripeness of the cervix. After satisfactory ripening, induction of labour proper begins. This can be done in one of two ways – 
~Artificial rupture of membranes – Deliberately breaking the “bag of water”, which stimulates the process of active labour through the release of prostaglandins.
~Induction/Augmentation of labour using oxytocin infusion – Oxytocin is released normally by the brain at the time of labour. This process can be augmented by infusion of controlled amount of oxytocin (Syntocinon®) through dedicated intravenous infusion pumps. 
*Note that induction of labour MUST be done in a hospital where adequate feto-maternal monitoring and standard obstetric care are available. This will ensure that any complication in the course of induction can be identified promptly and treated appropriately. 
It is also better to have standby facilities for Caeserean section in case of complications during, or failure of induction of labour. 
Wishing all expectant mothers safe delivery! 

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Monkeypox Outbreak

Monkeypox is a viral disease similar to smallpox and chickenpox transmitted majorly by rodents. The virus can spread both from animal to human and from human to human.

On the 22nd of September, 2017, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was notified of a case of suspected Monkeypox.

The case was identified in an 11-year-old male patient who was presented to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in Nigeria.

Subsequently, 11 other cases were identified. All the cases are currently receiving appropriate medical care. All the patients are improving clinically and there have been no deaths.

A medical doctor and 10 persons who came down with the monkeypox had been quarantined in an isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

As at 1st October 2017, 32 close contacts of the cases have been identified, advised appropriately and are being monitored.

Infection from animal to human can occur via an animal bite or by direct contact with an infected animal’s bodily fluids. The virus can spread from human to human by both respiratory (airborne) contact and contact with infected person’s bodily fluids.

Risk factors for transmission

  • close contact with infected persons eg- sharing a bed, room
  • using the same utensils as an infected person
  • Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals
  • Anything that favors the introduction of the virus to the oral mucosa.

Incubation period

It takes about 5-21 days but ideally it is 10–14 days. symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox, although it is often milder.

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Signs and symptoms

A distinctive feature of monkeypox compared to other similar diseases is that some patients develop severe lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) before the appearance of the rash.

The infection can be divided into two periods:

  • The invasion period (0-5 days) characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy);
  • The skin eruption period (within 1-3 days after the appearance of fever) where the various stages of the rash appear.

Rash often begins

  • on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body.
  • The face (in 95% of cases), and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75%) are most affected.
  • Evolution of the rash begins with lesions with a flat base to vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days. Three weeks might be necessary before the complete disappearance of the crusts.
  • Rash can also affect oral mucous membranes (in 70% of cases), genitalia (30%), and conjunctivae (eyelid) (20%)

Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and severity of complications.

Diagnosis

The differential diagnoses that must be considered include other rash illnesses, such as, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies. Lymphadenopathy during the prodromal stage of illness can be a clinical feature to distinguish it from smallpox.

Monkeypox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by a number of different tests:

  • enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • antigen detection tests
  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay
  • virus isolation by cell culture

Treatment and vaccine

There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.

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Vaccination against smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection however routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued following the apparent eradication of smallpox.

Prevention

Any human that might have come into contact with an infected animal/human should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.

Reducing the risk of infection in people

During human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with other patients is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. In the absence of specific treatment or vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus. Surveillance measures and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment.

  •  Gloves and protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill people. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.
  • Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Efforts to prevent transmission in endemic regions should focus on thoroughly cooking all animal products (blood, meat) before eating. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their infected tissues, and during slaughtering procedures.
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  • Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions.
  • Healthcare workers and those treating or exposed to patients with monkeypox or their samples should consider being immunized against smallpox via their national health authorities. Older smallpox vaccines should not be administered to people with comprised immune systems.
  • Samples taken from people and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories.
"Mad cow, deer tick, monkey pox, what's next?"
“Mad cow, deer tick, monkey pox, what’s next?”

Continue reading “Monkeypox Outbreak”

​PERINEAL TEAR: THE PRICE OF ‘PUSHING’ 

Vaginal delivery remains the better option than C-section; unless there’s a medical indication for the latter. But nothing comes without its own downside. One of the downsides of vaginal birth is the higher risk of genital tract injuries: ranging from slight bruising to various degrees of tear.

Episiotomy is the surgical cut made in the vaginal wall and peri-anal (perineal) muscles which is sometimes necessary to widen the space for the passage of the baby and to prevent irregular lacerations during delivery (which are more difficult to treat).

When a woman is given an episiotomy or she sustained genital laceration during childbirth, a proper repair must be done by a trained personnel (midwife or doctor). Failure to repair promptly and skillfully can result in immediate and longterm complications.

The steps involved in repairing perineal tear and episiotomy are essentially similar:
*The doctor will examine your vagina and anus to visualize the extent of injury, check if the anus is involved and decide whether the repair should be done in the labour room or operating theater.

*You will be given an injection at the site of the wound to numb the pain. You shouldn’t feel anything during the stitching and a few hours thereafter.

*The cut will be stitched layer-by-layer, ie. Vaginal wall, muscles, then skin. Absorbable sutures are widely used nowadays, so need to go back for removal of stitches.

*If the deep anal sphincters (special muscles controlling the anus) are involved, the procedure should be done in an operating theater, by a specialist doctor, under anesthesia.

After the repair, care must be taken to ensure proper healing of the wound. Painkillers, antibiotics and stool softening medications must be taken for at least 2 weeks. Sitz bath (immersing the perineum in lukewarm water) should be done twice daily until full healing. Long-term contraception is advised to reduce the risk of wound breakdown during the next delivery. Next pregnancy and childbirth should be hospital-supervised, taking into consideration the past events.

If perineal tears are left unattended for a long time after delivery, severe bleeding can occur; necessitating blood transfusion. Other complications include:

*infection

*poor wound healing

*constipation

*chronic pain

*faecal incontinence (inability to control flow of stool)

*flatulence (uncontrollable farting)

*fecal fistulae (abnormal connection between anus and vagina – soiling the vagina with feaces)

*sexual dissatisfaction and other sexual dysfunctions

*difficulty in subsequent deliveries

*low self esteem

Genital tract injuries can be prevented by allowing the baby to descend gradually, with controlled pushing, guarding of the perineum by the midwives, doing episiotomy when needed or planned caesarean section when the fetal weight is estimated to be above 4kg.