How can preterm birth be prevented?
This is a question that has been posed by many researchers and obstetricians for many years. It is unlikely that any one intervention or treatment will prevent all preterm births. This is due to the fact that preterm birth has multiple causes and likely one treatment will not be adequate for the multiple causes that can exist. Recent studies have shown that treatment with a hormone named progesterone (a steroid hormone that is naturally produced by the placenta and by the mother herself) can reduce the rate of preterm birth by as much as 30-50 percent. The use of corticosteroids to hasten lung maturity and prevent other complications of prematurity in infants that are at-risk for preterm birth has also been shown to make a substantial improvement in long-term outcomes of infants. The timing and route of delivery of the corticosteroids is something that must be determined on a case-by-case basis. There is substantial evidence to suggest that initiation of early prenatal care and close m