Reducing neonatal morbidity by discontinuing oxytocin during the active phase of first stage of labor: a multicenter randomized controlled trial STOPOXY

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2020 Oct 20;20(1):640. doi: 10.1186/s12884-020-03331-x.


Background: Oxytocin is effective in reducing labor duration, but can be associated with fetal and maternal complications such as neonatal acidosis and post-partum hemorrhage. When comparing discontinuing oxytocin in the active phase with continuing oxytocin infusion, previous studies were underpowered to show a reduction in neonatal morbidity. Thus, we aim at evaluating the impact of discontinuing oxytocin during the active phase of the first stage of labor on the neonatal morbidity rate.

Methods: STOPOXY is a multicenter, randomized, open-label, controlled trial conducted in 20 maternity units in France. The first participant was recruited January 17th 2020. The trial includes women with a live term (≥37 weeks) singleton, in cephalic presentation, receiving oxytocin before 4 cm, after an induced or spontaneous labor. Women aged < 18 years, with a lack of social security coverage, a scarred uterus, a multiple pregnancy, a fetal congenital malformation, a growth retardation <3rd percentile or an abnormal fetal heart rate at randomization are excluded. Women are randomized before 6 cm when oxytocin is either continued or discontinued. Randomization is stratified by center and parity. The primary outcome, neonatal morbidity is assessed using a composite variable defined by an umbilical arterial pH at birth < 7.10 and/or a base excess > 10 mmol/L and/or umbilical arterial lactates> 7 mmol/L and/or a 5 min Apgar score < 7 and/or admission in neonatal intensive care unit. The primary outcome will be compared between the two groups using a chi-square test with a p-value of 0.05. Secondary outcomes include neonatal complications, duration of active phase, mode of delivery, fetal and maternal complications during labor and delivery, including cesarean delivery rate and postpartum hemorrhage, and birth experience. We aim at including 2475 women based on a reduction in neonatal morbidity from 8% in the control group to 5% in the experimental group, with a power of 80% and an alpha risk of 5%.

Discussion: Discontinuing oxytocin during the active phase of labor could improve both child health, by reducing moderate to severe neonatal morbidity, and maternal health by reducing cesarean delivery and postpartum hemorrhage rates.

Trial registration: Clinical trials NCT03991091 , registered June 19th, 2019.

Keywords: Birth experience; Cesarean delivery; Discontinuation; Labor duration; Neonatal morbidity; Oxytocin.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / diagnosis
  • Acidosis / epidemiology*
  • Acidosis / etiology
  • Acidosis / prevention & control
  • Adult
  • Apgar Score
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry
  • France / epidemiology
  • Heart Rate, Fetal / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Labor, Induced / adverse effects*
  • Morbidity
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Myometrium / drug effects
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocics / adverse effects
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocin / adverse effects
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin

Associated data