Screening for short cervix could improve pregnancy outcomes and reduce preterm birth

Feb 05, 2010

Using ultrasound to screen all pregnant women for signs of a shortening cervix improves pregnancy outcomes and is a cost-effective way to reduce preterm birth, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study.

The results of the study will be presented February 5 at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) in Chicago.

Shortened cervical length increases the likelihood of a . All high-risk patients—those who have had a prior preterm birth—are routinely screened at 20 to 24 weeks gestation to test for cervical length. However, screening is not often given to low-risk , and researchers did not know whether it was cost-effective to screen women at low risk.

Erika Werner, M.D., clinical instructor in the Department of Obstetrics, & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, found that screening low-risk women is not only cost effective, it is cost-saving.

Werner and her team developed a computer model to mimic the outcomes and costs that occur when women are screened routinely, compared to when no screening occurs. They found that universal screening was cost-effective when compared to routine care. In fact, for every 100,000 women, routine care costs $6,523,365 more than the screening strategy. It also improved quality of life and resulted in fewer neonatal deaths and infants with long-term neurologic disorders.

"Since only 10 percent of preterm birth occurs in women with a history of preterm birth, cervical length screening may be the best way to decrease the number of babies born prematurely," said Werner.

Explore further: Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Preterm birth linked to lifelong health issues

Mar 25, 2008

The healthcare implications of being born premature are much broader and reach further into adulthood than previously thought, according to a long-term study of more than a million men and women by Duke University and Norwegian ...

Preterm birth rate drops

Mar 18, 2009

The nation's preterm birth rate declined slightly in 2007 - a finding that the March of Dimes hopes will prove to be the start of a new trend in improved maternal and infant health.

Recommended for you

Sensors may keep hospitalized patients from falling

3 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—To keep hospitalized patients safer, University of Arizona researchers are working on new technology that involves a small, wearable sensor that measures a patient's activity, heart rate, ...

Rising role seen for health education specialists

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes (Update)

6 hours ago

The U.S. government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

User comments : 0

More news stories

New breast cancer imaging method promising

The new PAMmography method for imaging breast cancer developed by the University of Twente's MIRA research institute and the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital appears to be a promising new method that could ...

Breast cancer replicates brain development process

New research led by a scientist at the University of York reveals that a process that forms a key element in the development of the nervous system may also play a pivotal role in the spread of breast cancer.

Research proves nanobubbles are superstable

The intense research interest in surface nanobubbles arises from their potential applications in microfluidics and the scientific challenge for controlling their fundamental physical properties. One of the ...

Using antineutrinos to monitor nuclear reactors

When monitoring nuclear reactors, the International Atomic Energy Agency has to rely on input given by the operators. In the future, antineutrino detectors may provide an additional option for monitoring. ...