Osteopathic Journal ClubORIGINAL ARTICLE

Does Compression of the Fourth Ventricle Cause Preterm Labor? Analysis of Data From the PROMOTE Study

Kendi L. Hensel, DO, PhD, and Brandy M. Roane, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: March 11, 2019

Published: October 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(10): 668-672

Background: The technique for the compression of the fourth ventricle (CV4) in the brain has been described as a method of reaching the physiologic centers that reside in its floor and of restoring optimal flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. However, a study published as an abstract in 1992 questioned whether CV4, when applied to pregnant women, could induce uterine contractions and possibly labor.

Objective: To further examine whether CV4 could induce uterine contractions and labor as part of the osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) protocol used in the Pregnancy Research in Osteopathic Manipulation Optimizing Treatment Effects (PROMOTE) study.

Methods: Labor and delivery data collected during the PROMOTE study from 2007-2011 were analyzed. The PROMOTE study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and was a randomized controlled clinical trial that measured the primary outcomes of back-specific functioning and pain in pregnant women aged 18 to 34 years. Participants were randomly divided into 3 groups—usual obstetric care only, placebo ultrasound treatment plus usual obstetric care, and OMT plus usual obstetric care. Study participants were scheduled for 7 treatment visits. Presented data were gathered from labor and delivery records.

Results: Four hundred participants were included. No significant differences were identified between treatment groups for the development of high-risk status (P=.293) or preterm delivery (P=.673). Evaluation of high-risk status by preterm delivery for the groups also showed no significant differences between groups (P=.455).

Conclusion: The application of CV4 as part of an OMT protocol during the third trimester caused neither a higher incidence of preterm labor nor the development of high-risk status.

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