Born too soon

care during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce preterm deliveries and improve health outcomes of the preterm baby.

Jennifer Requejo, Mario Merialdi, Fernando Althabe, Matthais Keller, Joanne Katz, Ramkumar Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pregnancy and childbirth represent a critical time period when a woman can be reached through a variety of mechanisms with interventions aimed at reducing her risk of a preterm birth and improving her health and the health of her unborn baby. These mechanisms include the range of services delivered during antenatal care for all pregnant women and women at high risk of preterm birth, services provided to manage preterm labour, and workplace, professional and other supportive policies that promote safe motherhood and universal access to care before, during and after pregnancy. The aim of this paper is to present the latest information about available interventions that can be delivered during pregnancy to reduce preterm birth rates and improve the health outcomes of the premature baby, and to identify data gaps. The paper also focuses on promising avenues of research on the pregnancy period that will contribute to a better understanding of the causes of preterm birth and ability to design interventions at the policy, health care system and community levels. At minimum, countries need to ensure equitable access to comprehensive antenatal care, quality childbirth services and emergency obstetric care. Antenatal care services should include screening for and management of women at high risk of preterm birth, screening for and treatment of infections, and nutritional support and counselling. Health workers need to be trained and equipped to provide effective and timely clinical management of women in preterm labour to improve the survival chances of the preterm baby. Implementation strategies must be developed to increase the uptake by providers of proven interventions such as antenatal corticosteroids and to reduce harmful practices such as non-medically indicated inductions of labour and caesarean births before 39 weeks of gestation. Behavioural and community-based interventions that can lead to reductions in smoking and violence against women need to be implemented in conjunction with antenatal care models that promote women's empowerment as a strategy for reducing preterm delivery. The global community needs to support more discovery research on normal and abnormal pregnancies to facilitate the development of preventive interventions for universal application. As new evidence is generated, resources need to be allocated to its translation into new and better screening and diagnostic tools, and other interventions aimed at saving maternal and newborn lives that can be brought to scale in all countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReproductive Health
Volume10 Suppl 1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Premature Birth
Prenatal Care
Parturition
Pregnancy
Health
Premature Obstetric Labor
Induced Labor
Aptitude
Nutritional Support
Birth Rate
Emergency Medical Services
Research
Violence
Workplace
Obstetrics
Counseling
Pregnant Women
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Smoking
Mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

Cite this

Born too soon : care during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce preterm deliveries and improve health outcomes of the preterm baby. / Requejo, Jennifer; Merialdi, Mario; Althabe, Fernando; Keller, Matthais; Katz, Joanne; Menon, Ramkumar.

In: Reproductive Health, Vol. 10 Suppl 1, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Requejo, Jennifer ; Merialdi, Mario ; Althabe, Fernando ; Keller, Matthais ; Katz, Joanne ; Menon, Ramkumar. / Born too soon : care during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce preterm deliveries and improve health outcomes of the preterm baby. In: Reproductive Health. 2013 ; Vol. 10 Suppl 1.
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