Does inflammation cause premature labour?
Researchers need to find out more about how premature labour begins. They already know that the cervix, which forms the neck of the womb, often gets shorter before premature labour starts. They suspect inflammation might cause this shortening. So the research team will invite women who are thought to be at high risk of premature labour to take part in a study. At least once a fortnight, researchers will assess each woman’s cervix using ultrasound scans. They will also take blood samples and vaginal swabs to test for markers of inflammation. Researchers will try to stop some women from going into premature labour using, for example, the hormone progesterone or a procedure called cervical stitch. The results will reveal any links between inflammation and changes in the cervix. They will also show whether treatment can limit the effect of inflammation on the cervix.