Preterm Labour

Project Details

Being born too early is a common problem and a major cause of infant morbidity and mortality. Healthcare costs are enormous as many survivors will have at least one major disability. A reliable screening test that identifies women at risk of premature birth is currently lacking.

Preterm birth (birth before 37 completed weeks’ gestation) is a significant problem occurring in 5-20% of all deliveries. Most developedcountries including Australia report an increasing trend in the incidence of premature birth. Being born too early is the major cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality and accounts for the majority of neonatal deaths. Recent medical advances have increased survival rates, particularly for the extremely premature baby, but the associated morbidity for these survivors remains significant where up to one-quarter will have at least one major disability. Healthcare costs for the short and long-term care of these infants is enormous.

The lack of a rapid and reliable screening test to identify women who are at risk of developing preterm labour further limits the early detection of disease onset and the implementation of preventive therapies. We have previously identified and evaluated a number of putative biomarkers found in human vaginal fluid that are associated with preterm labour onset. Using this data, predictive models have been generated and the ability of these biomarkers to predict labour have been investigated.

Researchers

Funding

The research actiivities of the Pregnancy Research Centre (PRC) are funded by a variety of intramural and extramural sources.  Since its formation in 1993, the PRC has secured over $15 Million in peer-reviewed, competetive national and international funding sources.

Research Outcomes

Recent publications relating to preterm labour research in the PRC

Nicolaides KH, Syngelaki A, Poon LC, Picciarelli G, Tul N, Zamprakou A, Skyfta E, Parra-Cordero M, Palma-Dias R, Rodriguez Calvo J. A Randomized Trial of a Cervical Pessary to Prevent Preterm Singleton Birth. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2016; 374(11):1044-1052.

Hughes K, Kane SC, Araujo Junior E, Da Silva Costa F, Sheehan P. Short cervical length as a predictor of spontaneous preterm birth in high-risk pregnancy - current knowledge. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In Press. (Accepted 28.9.15)

Georgiou HM, Di Quinzio MK, Permezel M, Brennecke SP. Predicting Preterm Labour: Current Status and Future Prospects. Dis Markers. 2015:435014. doi: 10.1155/2015/435014.

Sheehan PM, Nankervis A, Araujo Juinor E, Da silva Costa F. (2015) Maternal thyroid disease and preterm birth: systematic review and Meta-analysis. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and Metabolism. 2015; 100(11):4325-31

Sim S, Costa F da S, Araujo Junr E, Sheehan PM. Factors associated with spontaneous preterm birth risk assessed by transvaginal ultrasound following cervical cerclage. ANZJOG. 2015; 55(4):344-349

Sheehan P, Rice GE, Brennecke SP. (2014) 5β-dihydroprogesterone and Human Preterm Labor. Open Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases (OJEMD). 4:128-135

Research Publications

Nicolaides KH, Syngelaki A, Poon LC, Picciarelli G, Tul N, Zamprakou A, Skyfta E, Parra-Cordero M, Palma-Dias R, Rodriguez Calvo J. A Randomized Trial of a Cervical Pessary to Prevent Preterm Singleton Birth. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2016; 374(11):1044-1052.

Georgiou HM, Di Quinzio MK, Permezel M, Brennecke SP. Predicting Preterm Labour: Current Status and Future Prospects. Dis Markers. 2015:435014. doi: 10.1155/2015/435014.

Ni Chuileannain F, Bell R, Brennecke SP (1998). Cervicovaginal fetal fibronectin testing in threatened pre-term labour — translating research findings into clinical practice. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1998; 38, 4, 399-402.

Parker J, Bell RJ, Brennecke SP.  (1995). Fetal fibronectin in the cervicovaginal fluid of women with threatened preterm labour as a predictor of delivery before 34 weeks’ gestation. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1995; 35, 257-261.

Research Group

Royal Women's Hospital Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Women's Health, Integrated Critical Medicine



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Unit / Centre

Royal Women's Hospital Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine Pregnancy Research Centre