ACOG Discusses Reducing Preterm Labor and Cerebral Palsy

Posted On: March 22, 2012 by Stephen Bilkis

New approaches to preventing preterm birth and related complications were discussed at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 59th Annual Clinical Meeting. In particular, studies of cutting-edge technology that may lead to an approach for the prevention of cerebral palsy were highlighted.

"Preterm birth is one of the most challenging problems," one of the doctors said, and a New York Birth Injury Lawyer reiterated that the “frequency of preterm birth in the United States has remained unchanged over the past 2 decades, remaining at 12% overall and 20% in underserved populations.”

Worldwide estimates, including ones in Westchester and Staten Island, indicate that 30 million preterm babies are born annually, with both short- and long-term complications. It was reported at the Congress that no single test can predict all preterm births, and no singular treatment or prevention strategy will eradicate preterm birth. There are, however, two factors that are very strongly associated with preterm birth. A short cervix (a cervix <15 mm in length) increases the risk for preterm birth by 50%. Also, progesterone deficiency is implicated in both preterm birth and short cervix.

The results of the PREGNANT trial showed a significant 45% reduction in preterm births with the use of vaginal progesterone versus the use of a placebo.

According to the report, “vaginal progesterone was also associated with a significantly reduced risk for respiratory distress syndrome (P = .03), any neonatal morbidity or mortality event (P = .04), and low birth weight (P = .01). No difference in adverse events was observed when vaginal progesterone was compared with placebo.”

Another prominent part of the Congress’ discussion centered on potential approaches to prevent cerebral palsy, which is associated with both preterm delivery and fetal infection.
The results from three large and randomized trials showed equivocal evidence for the prevention of cerebral palsy using magnesium sulfate for neuro-protection. The analysis of these 3 trials found that the use of magnesium sulfate in patients at risk for preterm birth experienced a reduction of the risk for cerebral palsy by 31%. This finding suggests that magnesium sulfate can protect against some cases of cerebral palsy effectively.

As the scientific community continues to improve the outlook of newborns and their mothers, it is still important to voice when you have been neglected or mistreated by medical professionals. Contact a New York Birth Injury Attorney as soon as possible to go over the details of your case.