This guideline covers the care of women at increased risk of or with symptoms and signs of preterm labour (before 37 weeks) and women having a planned preterm birth. It aims to reduce the risks of preterm birth for the baby and describes treatments to prevent or delay early labour and birth.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- diagnosing, and caring for women with, preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (P-PROM)
- diagnosing preterm labour
- preventing or delaying preterm birth
- treatments aimed at lowering the risk of health problems for the baby
- fetal monitoring for women in preterm labour
- mode of birth and clamping the cord
- information and support
Who is it for?
- healthcare professionals who care for women at increased risk of or with symptoms and signs of preterm labour and women having a planned preterm birth
- commissioners and providers of maternity services
- women at increased risk of or with symptoms and signs of preterm labour and women having a planned preterm birth, and their families and carers
Guideline development process
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.