A greater understanding of the risk factors for spontaneous preterm birth and the importance of risk stratification to guide interventions has led to the introduction of preterm birth prevention clinics.
To evaluate the experience and outcomes of the first specialised preterm birth clinic in New Zealand.
Materials and methods
This observational study reviewed pregnancies cared for in a preterm birth clinic from 2013 to 2018. Cases were identified and data collected from a maternity database and electronic medical records. Analysis was by referral type.
A total of 423 cases were included; 309 elective and 22 acute referrals in pregnancy, and 92 consultations outside pregnancy. For those referred electively in pregnancy, 138/309 (44.7%) fulfilled multiple referral criteria, and 57/309 (18.4%) had ≥2 previous spontaneous preterm births or second trimester losses. Excluding five pregnancies with first trimester miscarriage, 77/304 (25.3%) were managed with a history‐indicated cerclage (11 placed pre‐conception) and 217/304 (71.4%) had cervical surveillance as primary management, of which 133 (61.3%) did not require treatment. The remaining had treatment for a short cervix; 37 (17.0%) received an ultrasound‐indicated cerclage only, 21 (9.7%) vaginal progesterone only and 26 (12.0%) both. Five women (1.6%) had a second trimester loss at 13+0–19+6 and 58/297 (19.5%) had a spontaneous preterm birth at 20+0–36+6 weeks. The ‘take home baby’ rate was 95.4%.
Pregnancy outcomes were similar to those reported by other preterm birth prevention clinics. The majority of women who received cervical surveillance as primary management were able to avoid additional treatment.