Review of Late Preterm birth at Mowbray Maternity Hospital

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

Introduction: Preterm births are common in all obstetric hospitals and present multiple challenges to both the obstetrician and the paediatrician. Preterm delivery is an important cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, and places significant psychosocial stress on all involved. Late Preterm Birth (LPTB) is an important topic with many consequences for mother, child and society. It would be of interest to quantify the problem of late preterm birth at Mowbray Maternity Hospital (MMH); quantifying the deliveries into spontaneous versus medically indicated, and to explore the reasons and outcomes for each category. Aims and Objectives: To review the causes, indications for, and outcomes (maternal and neonatal) of all late preterm births delivered at Mowbray Maternity Hospital. Methods: This was a retrospective descriptive study, conducted at Mowbray Maternity Hospital, between January 1 st 2016 and March 31 st 2016. The study population, consisting of 231 patients, includes all deliveries at MMH during the above time period, which fit the inclusion criteria of a gestational age (GA) of between 34⁺⁰ and 36⁺⁶ weeks. All data pertaining to the patient’s previous history, risk factors and current pregnancy were captured and analyzed using Stata. This study was approved by the UCT Ethics Committee (HREC) and institutional approval was obtained from Mowbray Maternity Hospital. All information was treated with confidentially and in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration. Results: During the study period, 1st January 2016 and 31st March 2016, there were a total of 2342 deliveries. Of these deliveries 36 (1.5%) were found to have a GA < 28 weeks (these included those that were categorised as miscarriages); 24 (1%) were between 28 – 31⁺⁶ weeks; 56 (2.4%) were between 32 – 33⁺⁶ weeks and 1833 (78.2%) had a GA above 37 weeks. 162 (6.9%) folders were missing and therefore GA was not calculated, leaving 231 (9.9%) deliveries of late preterm infants. Of the 231 patients included, 64 (27.7%) were noted to have a poor obstetric history, 38 (16.5%) had a history of a previous preterm delivery. Gestational age was calculated by Early Ultrasound Scan (EUS) in 44.2% of cases; Late Ultrasound Scan (LUS) in 36.4 % of cases; Last Normal Menstrual Period (LNMP) in 14.3% of cases and booking palpation in 5.12% of cases. At least one maternal characteristic associated with preterm labour was seen in 131 (56.7%) of the included patients. There were 20 (8.7%) sets of twins. Of the 231 patients, 129 (55.8%) presented in spontaneous labour and 102 were delivered late preterm for medical reasons; this included 70 (30.3% of 231) who had labour induced and 32 (13.9% of 231) who were delivered via caesarean section despite not being in labour for reasons that prevented an Induction of Labour (IOL)/vaginal birth. There were 251 babies delivered in the late preterm category, and of these, 250 (99.6%) were born alive, with 1 Early Neonatal Death (ENND) and 1 macerated stillborn. Of the 251 newborns, 63 (25.1%) were admitted to at least one of the neonatal wards during their hospital stay. Of these, 64.1% spent time in the High Care Unit (HCU), 28.1% spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and 68.8% spent time in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) unit (majority of these newborns had been in either HCU or NICU prior to KMC). Of the 63 neonates admitted to a neonatal ward; there were 37 (36.3%) from the 102 mothers delivered for medical reasons and 26 (20.2%) from the 129 mothers who had presented in spontaneous labour. The overall correlation between gestational age calculated by EUS/LUS/LMNP and Ballard score was calculated as 37%. The average length of stay in the hospital for the newborns, whether admitted or with mom, was 4.96 days. Discussion and Conclusion: Late Preterm Birth accounts for 9.9% of all births and 66.6% of all preterm births at Mowbray Maternity Hospital. This is a substantial proportion of MMH deliveries, putting pressure on already strained resources. This pressure is confounded by the fact that 25.1% of these neonates are admitted to a neonatal ward. 44.2% of these births are medically initiated and this should give cause for thought as to whether our protocols that govern certain medical conditions in pregnancy could possibly be altered to prolong pregnancies and reduce the incidence of Late Preterm Birth.