Tocolytics are medicines that are used to slow or stop the contractions of a woman's uterus during pregnancy. They are typically given to women who are in preterm labor to try to delay birth for 1 to 2 days.
This delay may be needed for a variety of medical reasons, such as:
To allow time for a fetus's lungs to mature after corticosteroid treatment.
To prevent labor until specialized care is obtained that either the mother or fetus is expected to need.
To relax the mother's uterine muscles before trying to turn a breech fetus to the head-down position (external cephalic version).
To reduce the stress on a baby who has a low heart rate or other problem.
Examples of tocolytics include terbutaline, magnesium sulfate, nifedipine, and indomethacin.