Quality statement 3: Information for women having a planned preterm birth

Quality statement

Women having a planned preterm birth are given information about the risks and potential outcomes.

Rationale

Women who are having a planned preterm birth need information about the level and nature of the risks, including how likely it is that their baby will survive. This should be given as early as possible in the antenatal period. It can help the woman and her family to understand what neonatal care their baby might need and inform their discussions with their neonatologist or paediatrician. The woman and her family should also be offered a tour of the neonatal unit.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements and clinical protocols to ensure that women having a planned preterm birth are given information about the risks and potential outcomes.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of women having a planned preterm birth who are given information about the risks and potential outcomes.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who are given information about the risks and potential outcomes.

Denominator – the number of women having a planned preterm birth.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Women's awareness of the risks and potential outcomes of having a planned preterm birth.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers (secondary care services) ensure that women having a planned preterm birth are given information about the risks and potential outcomes and the care available.

Healthcare professionals (such as obstetricians, neonatologists and paediatricians) give information to women having a planned preterm birth about the risks and potential outcomes and the care available.

Commissioners (clinical commissioning groups) commission services that ensure that women having a planned preterm birth are given information about the risks and potential outcomes and the care available.

What the quality statement means for women and their companions

Women who are having a planned preterm birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy) for medical reasons are told about what may happen. This should include:

  • information about the care that the woman and her baby might need, and whether this might include being transferred to another hospital for specialist care

  • information about the types of problems that a preterm baby might have, both at birth and as they grow up, including how likely these are

  • offering to show the woman round the neonatal unit, and an opportunity for her to talk with a neonatologist or paediatrician.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Planned preterm birth

A planned birth before 37+0 weeks of pregnancy because of medical complications.

[Adapted from the NICE full guideline on preterm labour and birth]

Information

Women should be given oral and written information, and directed to organisations that can provide further support.

[Adapted from the NICE full guideline on preterm labour and birth]

Potential outcomes

These include the likelihood of the baby surviving and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes.

[Adapted from the NICE full guideline on preterm labour and birth]

Equality and diversity considerations

Women having a planned preterm labour should have access to information that is understandable if they:

  • have additional needs, such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities

  • do not speak or read English

  • have religious, ethnic or cultural needs.

Interpreters and advocates should be provided if needed.