#GlobalNews: “Sunnybrook introduces program to prevent preterm and stillbirths in Ontario – National”

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A new alliance spearheaded by Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto is striving to prevent preterm and stillbirths in Ontario.

Named the Alliance for the Prevention of Preterm Birth and Stillbirth, it seeks to curb the nearly eight per cent of preterm births as well as the 700 stillbirths that occur in Ontario each year.

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“The bottom line is that preterm and stillbirths are preventable but we need to implement simple measures that will work,” says Dr. Jon Barrett, medical director of the alliance and division chief of maternal medicine at Sunnybrook. “We know that randomized clinical trials work and population interventions work. We also know that progesterone works in preventing preterm births in women with a short cervix and that taking aspirin will improve the chances of having a full-term birth by 30 per cent [in high-risk women]. We want to take this knowledge and implement it across Ontario.”

The program will set up screening programs to identify women at higher risk for premature birth and initiate a treatment program for mothers who previously delivered a preterm baby. It will also implement a knowledge translation project that will communicate information on warning signs of a stillbirth, including a fetal movement awareness campaign (women who notice a change in movement pattern of their baby should immediately seek medical attention) and the latest updates on how a woman’s sleeping patterns could affect her pregnancy.

READ MORE: Pregnant women who sleep on their backs double the risk of stillbirth: study

“If we waited for warning signs of these issues, we’d miss the boat on prevention, which is necessary in early pregnancy,” Barrett says. “We have to reach patients early so we can intervene downstream of the system.”

Bridget Addison, a Toronto mother of two, was an early patient of the alliance program, and just delivered her second child at full-term after having a preterm birth with her first.

“When our first child came early we were shocked. As first-time parents, it was so scary to see him in an incubator,” she tells Global News. “But with our second, our doctor listened to what I had been through and sent me for an ultrasound. That’s when I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and was prescribed progesterone.”

She said her second delivery was like “night and day” compared to the first.

“We were definitely the beneficiaries of this program,” she says.

READ MORE: Group-B strep infection blamed for nearly 150,000 stillbirths worldwide: study

In order to ensure the alliance has widespread effects, they have partnered with a number of other organizations and community members, including families, hospitals, regional maternal and newborn networks, care providers across the maternal and infant health-care system, women’s health organizations, researchers, BORN Ontario and the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health.

“We can’t just reach out to doctors and ultrasound clinics, we have to involve the entire patient and health-care community so people are aware these types of births can be prevented,” Barrett says. “It has to be done in an alliance with everyone who has contact with a pregnant woman.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 29 November 2017 | 7:16 pm, as ‘Sunnybrook introduces program to prevent preterm and stillbirths in Ontario – National’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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