Preterm labour and delivery remains the pre-eminent problem in modern obstetric practice. Around 6% of babies are delivered preterm in the UK and other developed countries. Prematurity has now overtaken congenital anomaly as the single biggest cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. In view of the sequelae for the child and the mother and the high level of resource to manage this problem and its complications, preterm labour is a major healthcare problem in the developed world. Optimum management of the preterm parturient is informed by research into preterm labour, and significantly improves neonatal outcome. However, the rate of scientific advance in this area is enormous and it is difficult for the practising clinician to keep up to date, and translate this information into practice.
The purpose of this book is to provide an evidence-based approach for the prevention and treatment of preterm labour and its sequelae. We are fortunate to have been able to assemble a list of authors who are internationally acknowledged experts on the mechanisms, aetiology, treatment and associated outcomes of preterm labour. In additional, the majority are actively involved in the management of such problems in clinical practice, so bringing practical expertise to the underlying science. The authors have written an up-to-date clinically relevant text, based on evidence from both basic science and randomised clinical trials. It is not just the disease process and its management that is important.