Impact & Healthcare Benefits
Prompt and improved identification of preterm birth risk by our studies will enable better care. This is possible through the administration of drugs such as the hormone progesterone, or others within the family of pain relief medication, known to prolong pregnancy. It may also help us to identify the "weak" cervix, a condition that continues to defy accurate diagnosis, so that a stitch can be more appropriately inserted round the cervix of those that truly need this, and avoided in those that do not need this. For women with symptoms of preterm labour cervical EIS may well identify those who are more likely to progress to birth than others, so that treatments to prepare the baby's lungs for birth, delay the birth, or ensure that birth occurs in an appropriately staffed and equipped health care facility can be provided. Most preterm births occur in women with no risk factors. At present there is no accurate method of screening all women. We are therefore carrying out studies on a cohort of low risk women also, to determine whether EIS can be used for routine screening of all pregnant women for risk of PTB.