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Variation in management of women with threatened preterm labour
  1. Sarah J Stock1,
  2. Rachel K Morris2,
  3. Manju Chandiramani3,
  4. Andrew H Shennan4,
  5. Jane E Norman1
  1. 1MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh Queen's Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh,
  2. 2School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College London, London, UK
  4. 4Women's Health Academic Centre, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah J Stock, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh Queen's Medical Research Institute, Little France, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK; sarah.stock{at}

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Spontaneous preterm delivery is an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality, but there is little consensus on the best way to manage women with signs and symptoms of preterm labour. We conducted a survey of all 198 consultant-led maternity units in the UK to establish management of women presenting with threatened preterm labour (April–July, 2014). We contacted a consultant obstetrician in each unit (labour ward lead consultant, preterm labour special interest consultant or clinical director) and asked them, or a deputy, to complete an online survey about their hospital protocols. Consultants from 133 of 198 (67.2%) consultant-led obstetrics units responded: 59.4% (79/133) with neonatal intensive care facilities, 21.1% (28/133) with high dependency facilities and 19.5% (26/133) with special care facilities.

There were 126/133 (94.7%) units that used one or more …

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  • Contributors SJS conceived the study and drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to the design of survey and testing of survey, interpretation of results and commented on the manuscript.

  • Competing interests AHS has consultancy arrangements with Hologic (who market Fetal Fibronectin), Alere (who market Actim Partus), GlaxoSmithKline and ObsEva. Quiagen (who market Partosure) provide tests for research. JEN is Chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group on Preterm Labour and Birth. The views expressed here are not those of the GDG. JEN is also on a Data Monitoring Committee for Glaxo Smith Kline. MC has contributed to educational talks for HOLOGIC and attended meetings sponsored by HOLOGIC.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.