New in RHL

Treatments for breast abscess in breastfeeding women

There is currently insufficient evidence to support whether one method of treatment of lactational breast abscess is superior.

Vacuum aspiration for induced abortion in the first trimester

WHO recommends a range of options for expanding of health worker roles in the provision of vacuum aspiration for induced abortion < 12 weeks of gestation.

Ultrasound for fetal assessment in early pregnancy

Routine ultrasound in early pregnancy increased the rate of detection of multiple pregnancies and fetal abnormalities before 24 weeks’ gestation. It seemed to be associated with a reduction in induction of labour for ’post-term’ pregnancy. No significant reduction in perinatal death, adverse outcomes for babies or in health service use was found. No adverse effects were demonstrated in long-term follow-up of children exposed to scan in utero.

Methods of repair for obstetric anal sphincter injury

This review compared primary overlap and end-to-end repair techniques in the management of obstetric anal sphincter injury (OASIS). There were no differences in perineal pain, dyspareunia, flatus incontinence and fecal incontinence. Overlap technique showed significantly lower risk of fecal urgency, lower anal incontinence score and deterioration of anal incontinence symptoms. However, there is insufficient evidence to make a strong recommendation regarding the best repair technique.

WHO Reproductive Health Library: 2015 and beyond

The World Health Organization's goal for RHL is to accelerate the implementation of high-quality evidence into reproductive health practice globally.


Interventions for helping to turn term breech babies to head first presentation when using external cephalic version

Parenteral beta sympathomimetics significantly increase the rate of successful external cephalic version (ECV) and vaginal birth, and significantly reduce the rate of caesarean section resulting from breech position, however information about adverse effects, and the effectiveness of other drugs is limited.

Calcium supplementation during pregnancy for preventing hypertensive disorders and related problems

The use of calcium supplementation in pregnancy reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia, maternal death or severe morbidity and reduces the risk of preterm birth, especially in women with low dietary calcium intake or high risk of preeclampsia.

Antihypertensive drug therapy for mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy

Antihypertensive therapy for mild to moderate hypertension during pregnancy reduces the risk of severe hypertensive episodes; however the clinical significance of this reduction for the mother and fetus is not clear. A significant effect on rates of pre-eclampsia has not been observed.

Different classes of antibiotics given to women routinely for preventing infection at caesarean section

Cephalosporines and penicillins showed to be effective in preventing early infection when given routinely to women at caesarean section and had no statistical significant differences between them.

Antibiotics for prelabour rupture of membrane at or near term

Giving prophylactic antibiotics to women with prelabour rupture of membranes (PROM) at or near term have shown no reduction in maternal infectious morbidity, early-onset neonatal sepsis, stillbirth, neonatal or perinatal mortality when compared to placebo or no treatment

Corticosteroids for preventing neonatal respiratory morbidity after elective caesarean section at term

Prophylactic administration of betamethasone to women undergoing elective caesarean section between 37 and 39 weeks of gestation seems to reduce the risk of admission to special and to intensive neonatal care units for respiratory distress.

Symphysial fundal height (SFH) measurement in pregnancy for detecting abnormal fetal growth

There is a lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of SFH measurement in pregnancy to detect abnormal fetal growth.

Search WHO guidelines on sexual and reproductive health



Health-care practice guidance from WHO and other institutions

Methodological resources

Methodological and education resources for improved understanding of the concepts and discussions related to generation of best evidence


A set of training videos to help clinicians master details of manual or surgical procedures

RHL on iPad

Available for iPad, the RHL app allows you to access the entire library offline


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RHL endorses the Core Outcomes in Women’s health (CROWN) initiative to harmonise outcome reporting in women’s health research.