The aim of this review was to investigate the existing evidence regarding specialist preterm clinics for women who are at risk of preterm birth. Reem Malouf and Maggie Redshaw found eleven studies which looked at the effect of the clinic with regards to preterm birth and other important outcomes.
The evidence from the five randomised controlled trials showed that there was no significant difference between care at a specialist clinic and standard care for most of the neonatal outcomes. However, these studies were conducted before 1990 and the intervention was limited to increasing the number of antenatal visits in addition to educating the women about signs and symptoms of preterm labour. In contrast, the five most recent cohort studies in which new tests are used such as the foetal Fibronectin screening test (fFN), showed some positive neonatal outcomes.
In this review we only found one qualitative study where women expressed their anxiety about being labelled as high-risk of preterm birth and being reassured about interventions and treatments received in the clinic. In this study, women reported that their partners were struggling to cope emotionally. Further clarification is necessary on the optimal referral and standardized management plan in the clinic.
You can access the article in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth