Antepartum and intrapartum interventions to prevent preterm birth and its sequelae

T. A.J. Nijman, E. O.G. van Vliet, B. Koullali, B. W. Mol, M. A. Oudijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Preterm birth is the main cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. This review provides an overview of antepartum and intrapartum management of threatened preterm birth. The most effective method to identify women at high risk of delivering within seven days is the combination of cervical length and fetal fibronectin test. Antenatal corticosteroids administered for 48 h improve neonatal outcome. Although tocolysis has been shown to prolong pregnancy, there is no evidence that tocolytic therapy improves neonatal outcomes. Intrapartum administration of magnesium sulfate improves neurologic outcomes, such as cerebral palsy and gross motor function. In women with preterm premature rupture of membranes, prophylactic antibiotic treatment with erythromycin improves short-term neonatal outcomes, but proof of long-term benefit is lacking. In threatened preterm birth with intact membranes, prophylactic antibiotic treatment is thought to be harmful. Critical appraisal of the long-term benefits and harms of all these treatments questions their use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Antenatal corticosteroids
  • Neonatal outcome
  • Neuroprotection
  • Preterm birth
  • Tocolysis


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