Prevention and not merely prediction of preterm labor and deliveryPrevention and not merely prediction of preterm labor and delivery
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Antwerp Surgical Training, Anatomy and Research Centre (ASTARC)
World journal of obstetrics and gynecology
1(2012):3, p. 17-19
University of Antwerp
Different methods have been proposed to screen for preterm labor and delivery; most of these aim to predict the risk that preterm delivery is going to take place. However, interesting though this knowledge might be, knowing the future is of no use when no changes can be made. Recent publications have suggested new and exciting modalities to actually diminish the frequency of preterm birth in patients selected by transvaginal cervical length measurement; these modalities include vaginal progesterone and vaginal pessaries. Although promising, many questions remain to be answered; not least about the long term outcome for both neonates and mothers, but also on the eventual introduction of such strategies to the general obstetric population. One of the main problems that urgently needs clarification is how we are going to offer this best of medicine to those needing it most: deprived and socially isolated women who have the highest risk for preterm labor and delivery, probably not due to any congenital cervical problems, but to a combination of environmental, microbiological and social factors, including transgenerational poverty and deprivation.