Evaluation of the impact of preterm birth clinics
Antenatal clinics specifically designed to care for women at high risk of preterm birth are being established around the country with the aim of reducing the rate of preterm birth. It is known that the services and care being provided are variable across different Trusts and a survey of consultant-led obstetric units across the country has recently been conducted on this topic. Thus the main objective of this Policy Research Unit study, carried out by Reem Malouf and Maggie Redshaw, was to review the literature on the provision and use of such specialist clinics, including studies using qualitative as well as quantitative methods.
A systematic review was published:
Findings from the review were mixed. Cohort studies indicated a specialist clinic may be a means of predicting or preventing preterm birth. However, testing this in a randomised controlled trial is desirable, though may be hard to achieve due to the introduction of such clinics to manage women at high risk of preterm birth. Clarification of the optimal referral route and economic evaluations of the cost of such clinics are needed.