Viagra Helping Babies - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Viagra Helping Babies

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Women in New Zealand will be the first in the world to use Viagra in order to help save their unborn babies' lives. Medical experts say the pill may hold the key to helping underdeveloped and low birth weight babies grow in the womb. Lorelei Mason has the story.

She's their little survivor. Now eighteen months old ..sofia hammond battled a challenging start to life.
At twenty-one weeks gestation she stopped growing in her mother's womb...mum sheila was told if she survivied she'd have a high risk of disability.

Thats the time I really really cried because it actually sunk into me that I might lose the baby. All doctors could do was monitor sheila with scans.. to try to delay birth and limit complications.

They can get neurological damage which can cause long-term problems with blindness deafness and cerebral palsy. Despite being born the same weight as a pack of butter ....sofia luckily escaped those complications.

But now New Zealand researchers ...from gravida .. the national centre for growth and development ...are spearheading a world first trial using the male erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil ..otherwise known as viagra or avigra ...in the hope it may assist in the survival of under-developed or low birthweight babies.

It increases blood supply to the pelvis in men but also its likely thats the same in women so what we're hoping is that we're going to be able to increase the blood supply to a uterus, a womb.

From october 122 new zealand women will be recruited for the australasian arm of the trial ...collaborating with hospitals in the U.K. the Netherlands, the USA and Canada.

Women who risk delivering their babies prematurely ..will be given a special low dose of sildenafil ...three times daily...and monitored closely.

What we think from the studies we've done so far, is that sildenafil will selectively dilate the blood vessels in the female pelvis, improving blood supply and nutrient supply and oxygen supply to the babies.

The trial is the result of fifteen years research.

The sort of women we will be inviting to take part are women who've got very small babies prior to 28 weeks.

Sofia's now doing well. She's a healthy happy baby....but the potential for a pill to boost growth and lessen parental heartache....would be huge leap forward.


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