Prevention of Preterm Birth

Jeffrey M. Denney; Jennifer F. Culhane; Robert L. Goldenberg


Women's Health. 2008;4(6):625-638. 

In This Article


A large literature describes retrospective and prospective trials of interventions applied after conception to prevent or reduce the risk of indicated and/or spontaneous preterm birth. The available data on the effectiveness of various interventions aimed at reducing premature births provide an explanation for the epidemiologic observation that the rate of preterm birth is not declining. Studies of interventions aimed at reducing idiopathic/spontaneous preterm birth have typically been disappointing. Most interventions designed to prevent preterm birth do not work, and the few that do, including treatment of UTI and possibly the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in high-risk women, are not universally effective and are probably applicable to only a small percentage of women at risk for preterm birth. Other interventions such as cerclage and the use of progestins are still being evaluated. In many cases, the women most likely to see benefit are unknown and only now is this issue being evaluated.


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