The West Los Angeles Preterm Birth Prevention Project: I. Program Impact on High-Risk Women

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The primary objective of this prospective study was to test whether preterm birth prevention education plus increased clinic visits and selected prophylactic interventions reduce preterm birth.

STUDY DESIGN

Eight West Los Angeles prenatal county clinics, comparable with respect to selected demographics, were randomized to be either experimental or control clinics. High-risk patients in all clinics were identified with a risk scoring system derived from a similar population. High-risk patients (N = 1774) in experimental clinics were offered a program of education and more frequent visits and were randomized to receive various secondary intervention protocols in addition to the basic interventions of education and more frequent visits. Control clinic patients (N = 880) received standard county care.

RESULTS

Preterm birth rates were 19% lower among the experimental high-risk patients (7.4% vs 9.1%), and differences were significant (p < 0.05) when preterm risk was taken into account. There was no evidence to suggest that the secondary interventions provided added benefit over the primary intervention protocol of preterm birth prevention education and increased visits.

CONCLUSION

The 19% reduction in preterm birth rate observed in the experimental clinics suggest an overall program benefit from a protocol that offered education, more frequent visits, and greater attention given to patients while the selected interventions were applied. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:54-62.)

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