Preventing early births in a regional tertiary maternity unit: Evaluating preterm and early term birth rates before and after implementation of the Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative in the Australian Capital Territory

Roberto Orefice, Julia Smythe, Dorota A. Doherty, Boon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A multifaceted preterm birth (PTB) prevention initiative was launched in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 2019. The aim of this initiative was to safely lower the rate of early births across the ACT and the surrounding areas in New South Wales. Modelled on the Western Australian PTB Prevention Initiative, the program included new clinical guidelines and a new PTB prevention clinic at the main tertiary hospital. Aim: To evaluate the initiative and its effects on preterm and early term birth rates at the main tertiary hospital after 16 months of implementation. Materials and Methods: A before and after intervention study was conducted. Rates of preterm and early term birth before (previous five years) and after 16 months of implementation of the ACT PTB Prevention Initiative were evaluated. Results: At the main tertiary hospital in The Canberra Hospital, the rate of PTB was significantly reduced by 10% after 16 months of implementation of the initiative. Rates of PTB were lower than any of the preceding five years and resulted in 45 averted or delayed PTBs. The number of planned early term births with no medical indication was significantly reduced by 34.5% and resulted in 77 averted or delayed early term births. Conclusions: The multifaceted PTB Prevention Initiative safely lowered the rates of early birth in the ACT context. These results highlight the importance of prioritising early birth prevention, education, research and expanding the initiative nationwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-699
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume61
Issue number5
Early online date24 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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