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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Aug 10;115(2):148-53.

Efficient prematurity prevention is possible by pH-self measurement and immediate therapy of threatening ascending infection.

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  • 1Klinik für Frauenheilkunde und Geburtshilfe, Helios Klinikum Erfurt, D-99089, Nordhäuser Str. 74, Germany.


In two prospective investigations, the effectiveness of the self care programme for prematurity prevention, developed by Saling, was investigated. Pregnant women in Erfurt have been offered to perform self measurements of their vaginal pH by means of test gloves twice a week in order to screen for any disturbances in the vaginal milieu. The women were instructed to see their physician immediately, if abnormal pH > or = 4.7 or other risk factors were present, in order to get them confirmed and to start lactobacillus acidophilus therapy or in case of bacterial vaginosis to treat with clindamycin cream i. vag. Patients who were not interested in the programme served as a control group. Seventy-three out of 381 women in the intervention group have been identified as risk cases. Fifty-eight of them were treated with a lactobacillus preparation, and 24 with clindamycin cream, three patients refused to have any therapy. In this study, the prematurity rate was 8.1% in the self measurement/intervention group versus 12.3% in the control group (P < 0.05, n = 2341). 0.3% versus 3.3% of the neonates belonged to the group of very early prematures with a gestational age of <32 + 0 (P < 0.01). PROM was registered in 22.8% versus 30.8% (P < 0.001), respectively. Starting 1 March 2000, a similar statewide pH screening programme was initiated in order to reduce prematurity in the State of Thuringia. According to the study design, a significant decrease of prematurity was hypothetically expected for the second half of 2000. In Erfurt, an overall decrease of prematurity from 7.68 to 6.81% and a reduction of cases < or = 32 weeks from 3.22 to 2.39% was observed. Premature rupture of membranes was seen in 19 versus 0 pregnancies with early prematurity (n = 1600). Data from 16,276 women are available for the state of Thuringia. On this basis, a significant reduction of early prematurity from 1.58 to 0.99% was seen, respectively (P < 0.001). Comparing low birthweights a significant reduction of cases was achieved as well in all groups. On the basis of the data obtained we recommend the extension of the campaign in whole of Germany.

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