What is included in the long-term monitoring of preterm labor?

Updated: May 04, 2021
  • Author: Michael G Ross, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Carl V Smith, MD  more...
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A true episode of preterm labor becomes a powerful risk factor for recurrent preterm birth, in addition to other risk factors present prior to the current episode. The prior risk factor may have been modified; for example, infection may have been identified and treated or behavioral risk factors may have been modified. Little evidence indicates that prophylactic oral beta-mimetic, subcutaneous beta-mimetics, or oral magnesium gluconate reduce the incidence of recurrent preterm birth and therefore should not be prescribed.

Frequent contact, face-to-face or by telephone, with a knowledgeable provider appears to be as effective as home uterine activity monitoring (HUAM) or continued pharmacological therapy. Direct contact with the patient is supplemented by education and phone access to a knowledgeable, consistent provider. Some unique situations exist in which HUAM is still felt to be beneficial, including patients who are paraplegic and unable to appreciate any muscular contractions.

The goal of follow-up therapy is to maximally reduce recurrence risk and to speed the access to subspecialty care if preterm labor should recur.

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