A randomized comparison of oxytocin, sulprostone and placebo in the management of the third stage of labour

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991 Jun;98(6):528-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1991.tb10364.x.


Objective: To compare the effect on post partum bloodloss of the postpartum prophylactic administration of oxytocin or sulprostone in low risk women having an expectant management of the third stage.

Design: Randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial.

Setting: Radboud University Hospital, Nijmegen (67 women) and Lievensberg Hospital, Bergen op Zoom (10 women).

Participants: 77 women entered the trial (three were excluded).

Interventions: The intramuscular injection, immediately after the birth of the baby, of either oxytocin 5 IU, sulprostone 500 micrograms or 0.9% saline.

Main outcome measures: Quantitative postpartum blood loss and length of third stage.

Results: Postpartum blood loss was reduced almost equally, by about 35%, by oxytocin (P = 0.02), or sulprostone (P = 0.05). The mean length of the third stage was shorter in both groups receiving the active treatment, this effect was significant in the sulprostone group (P = 0.01).

Conclusion: Prophylactic administration of oxytocin or sulprostone directly after delivery followed by expectant management of the third stage reduces post partum blood loss and shortens the third stage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Dinoprostone / administration & dosage
  • Dinoprostone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor Stage, Third*
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors


  • Oxytocin
  • sulprostone
  • Dinoprostone