Tocolytics are medicines that are used to slow or stop the contractions of a woman's uterus during pregnancy. They are typically given to women who are in preterm labour to try to delay birth for 1 to 2 days.
This delay may be needed for a variety of medical reasons, such as:
To allow time for a fetus's lungs to mature after corticosteroid treatment.
To prevent labour until specialized care is obtained that either the mother or fetus is expected to need.
To relax the mother's uterine muscles before trying to turn a breech fetus to the head-down position (external cephalic version).
To reduce the stress on a baby who has a low heart rate or other problem.
Examples of tocolytics include nifedipine and indomethacin.
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology