'Holistic approach' at Ipswich hospital helping prevent premature births

A specialist pre-term prevention clinic has been launched at Ipswich Hospital.

A specialist pre-term prevention clinic has been launched at Ipswich Hospital. - Credit: Rachel Edge

A specialist clinic at Ipswich Hospital is now offering targeted support to help reduce the chances of an early delivery.  

The pre-term prevention clinic was launched this year to reduce the number of women delivering early, or losing their babies because of a late miscarriage.

The clinic offers at-risk women check ups every two to four weeks so any changes which indicate they are likely to go into labour early can be picked up.

Once the risk has been identified, a range of things can be done to prolong the pregnancy.

Joanna Cook, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology and lead for pre-term birth and early pregnancy, said: “This specialist service ensures that women at increased risk of premature delivery are closely monitored until six months (24 weeks) into their pregnancy so that we can detect any changes in the neck of the womb early on.

"We can then offer treatment to prolong the woman’s pregnancy or, if that is not possible, plan for early delivery in the best place.

Miss Joanna Cook, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology

Miss Joanna Cook, consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Ipswich hospital - Credit: ESNEFT

“As we see these women so regularly, we are able to provide continuity of care and emotional support where necessary, which can be particularly important during a complex pregnancy.

Most Read

"We also offer screening tests for infections associated with early labour and support and advice to help mums-to-be to stop smoking, which can also reduce the chances of an early delivery.

“By adopting this holistic approach, our aim is to provide the best possible evidence based care and outcomes for both mum and baby.”

Staff are encouraging women to ask their midwife to refer them to the clinic if they have previously had a miscarriage after 14 weeks or an early delivery before 34 weeks, a caesarean at full dilation or if they have a history of surgery for cervical cancer or pre-cancer or a heart-shaped or bicornuate womb.

Fetal medicine specialist, Nishi Deole

Fetal medicine specialist, Nishi Deole - Credit: ESNEFT

Miss Cook and fetal medicine specialist Mr Nishi Deole, who run the weekly clinics in Ipswich, are now working with staff at Colchester Hospital to introduce a similar service for pregnant women in north Essex.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter