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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2007 Sep;20(9):703-5.

Effect of oxytocics on the blood pressure of normotensive Nigerian parturients.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Nigeria.



The single most common direct obstetric disorder accounting for 25% of all maternal deaths globally is severe hemorrhage, generally occurring postpartum. Nearly all these deaths occur in the developing world. The role of oxytocic drugs in the management of the third stage of labor as a strategy to reduce maternal mortality has been emphasized. However, the adverse effects of these oxytocic agents, in particular ergometrine, have not been properly evaluated in our environment.


To evaluate the effect of ergometrine and oxytocin on the cardiovascular system when used for active management of the third stage of labor.


A double-blind, randomized controlled study was carried out at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi over 24 months. Five hundred and ten patients were randomized to treatment with either 0.5 mg of intramuscular ergometrine or 10 IU of intravenous oxytocin, respectively, as single injections. Their effects on the cardiovascular system were observed using blood pressure as a marker.


Ergometrine unlike oxytocin was observed to cause a significant rise in blood pressure, and this effect was most marked in the first 24 hours of the puerperium.


These results suggest that ergometrine may be safe in normotensive parturients but hazardous in hypertensive parturients in whom oxytocin would be a safer option.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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