Globally, preterm birth rates are rising and have a significant impact on neonatal morbidity and mortality. Preterm birth remains difficult to prevent and a number of strategies for preterm birth prevention (progesterone, cervical pessaries, cervical cerclage, tocolytics, and antibiotics) have been identified. While some of these show more promise, there is a paucity of evidence regarding the long-term effects of these strategies on childhood outcomes. Strategies used to improve the health of babies if born preterm, such as antenatal magnesium sulfate for fetal neuroprotection and antenatal corticosteroids for fetal lung maturation, show evidence of short-term benefit but lack large-scale follow-up data of long-term childhood outcomes. Future research on preterm birth interventions should include long-term follow-up of the children, ideally with similar outcome measures to allow for future meta-analyses.
- Journal Article