Premature babies — those born prior to 37 weeks of gestation — are likely to have more health problems or need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born at term. And it is expensive. In the United States, premature birth costs more than $26.2 billion each year.
It’s no small problem, either. In the greater Austin area, about one in 10 babies are born premature.
Existing tools and resources are available to help providers quickly identify when a woman is in preterm labor so she can receive appropriate intervention and support. In 2013, the March of Dimes released the Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit (PLAT), which aims to ensure that cervical changes are uniformly assessed in women presenting with signs and symptoms of preterm labor.
In November, the Dell Medical School convened an advisory board of community obstetric leaders to discuss current methods of assessing preterm labor and to build support for standardizing preterm labor assessment throughout the community. Together, this group committed to hosting a community-wide training for health care providers that will teach participants how to implement the toolkit, measure cervical length, and conduct a sterile speculum exam.
The training will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at The University of Texas at Austin. Speakers include:
- Amy Young, MD
- Steven Clark, MD
- Celeste Sheppard, MD
- Kelly Sullivan, RDMS
- Karen Swenson, MD
Health care providers from across the community are invited to attend, but must register by Monday, March 28.
I hope to see you there, as we rethink care for Austin’s infants and their mothers.