What are the goals for treatment of preterm labor?

Updated: May 04, 2021
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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The focus of this article is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of preterm labor with intact membranes. The management of preterm labor associated with ruptured membranes is reviewed in Premature Rupture of Membranes; however, the overall goals of both management schemes are similar.

Goals of obstetric patient management of preterm labor should include (1) early identification of risk factors associated with preterm birth, (2) timely diagnosis of preterm labor, (3) identifying the etiology of preterm labor, (4) evaluating fetal well-being, (5) providing prophylactic pharmacologic therapy to prolong gestation and reduce the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and intra-amniotic infection (IAI), (6) initiating tocolytic therapy when indicated, and (7) establishing a plan of maternal and fetal surveillance with patient/provider education to improve neonatal outcome.

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