John Newnham, MD, FRANZCOG and Richard A. Polin, MD
In this segment, “Prevention of Preterm Birth,” Dr. Newnham and Dr. Polin report on the successes of an Australian campaign to prevent preterm delivery.
The quest to prevent preterm birth has been an ongoing challenge in perinatal and obstetric medicine. Despite much research, little progress has been made. It is possible that much of our efforts have thus far been focused on targeting impenetrable etiologies that may not necessarily be causative. Dr. Newnham’s group has therefore led an Australian campaign to target the “low hanging fruit” of etiologies that have been known to elicit preterm birth. The Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance has promoted such interventions as no provider-initiated delivery before 38-39 weeks gestation unless medically indicated, and routine surveillance of cervical lengths and immediate treatment of cervical shortening with vaginal progesterone. The campaign has had significant success since its inception, with a decrease in the rate of preterm birth up to 8% in its first year.