Effects of gum chewing on postoperative bowel motility after caesarean section: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
Article first published online: 14 MAR 2014
© 2014 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 121, Issue 7, pages 787–792, June 2014
How to Cite
Effects of gum chewing on postoperative bowel motility after caesarean section: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BJOG 2014;121:787–792., , , , .
- Issue published online: 20 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 14 MAR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 OCT 2013
- Caesarean section;
- gum chewing;
Gum chewing has been reported to enhance bowel motility and reduce postoperative ileus (POI). However, the efficacy remains imprecise for women following caesarean section.
To summarise and evaluate the current evidence for postoperative gum chewing on the recovery of bowel function following caesarean section.
We searched studies from the following electronic databases: PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS and Cochrane Library from inception to 30 May 2013.
We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of women after caesarean section; these RCTs should compared gum chewing with no gum chewing and reported on at least one of the outcomes: time to flatus, time to bowel sound, time to passing stool and length of hospital stay (LOS).
Data collection and analysis
Study outcomes were presented as mean differences (for continuous data) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI). The risk of bias in the study results was assessed using the assessment tool from the Cochrane Handbook.
Six RCTs including 939 women were included in our meta-analysis. The pooled results demonstrated that gum chewing is superior to no gum chewing with a reduction of 6.42 hours (95% CI −7.55 to −5.29) for time to first flatus, 3.62 hours (95% CI −6.41 to −0.83) for time to first bowel sound, 6.58 hours (95% CI −10.10 to −3.07) for time to first stool and 5.94 hours (95% CI −9.39 to −2.49) for LOS. In addition, no evidence emerged for any side effects caused by gum chewing.
The current evidence suggests that gum chewing is associated with early recovery of bowel motility and shorter LOS for women after caesarean section. This safe and inexpensive intervention should be included in routine postoperative care following a caesarean section.