To date there is no effective treatment for pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction (FGR). Salvia miltiorrhiza, a traditional Chinese herb has been shown to promote blood flow and improve microcirculatory disturbance. In this pilot study, we evaluated whether Salvia miltiorrhiza can potentially become a possible therapy for FGR. Nineteen pregnant women with FGR were treated with Salvia miltiorrhiza and ATP supplementation for an average of 7 days, and 17 cases received ATP supplementation as controls. The estimated fetal weights (EFW) were measured by ultrasound after treatment, and the birthweights were recorded after birth. After treatment with Salvia miltiorrhiza, 7 (37%) FGR cases showed an increase in EFW to above the 10th percentile, compared to 4 (23%) FGR cases in controls (odds ratio: 1.896, 95% confidence limits (CL): 0.44-8.144). At delivery, 10 (53%) FGR cases in the treatment group delivered babies with a birthweight above the 10th percentile, compared to 6 (35%) FGR cases in the control group (odds ratio: 2.037, 95% CL: 0.532-7.793). 80% or 64% FGR cases in the treatment group showed an increase in fetal abdominal circumference (AC) or biparietal diameter (BPD) above the 10th percentile before delivery. While 44% or 30% FGR cases in the control group showed an increase in AC or BPD. No improvement of head circumference or femur length was seen. This pilot data suggests the need for multi-centre randomised clinical trials on the potential of Salvia miltiorrhiza to improve perinatal outcome in pregnant women complicated by FGR.

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