antenatal screening programme

Preterm birth

1 in 12 babies in the UK are born preterm. Premature babies can have serious medical problems including breathing issues. They might need to go to an intensive care unit. Screening asymptomatic women might help to prevent premature births.

Read more about preterm labour on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in November 2020.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

The screening tests currently available to predict preterm birth in women without symptoms are not reliable enough.

Furthermore, it is not certain that treating women identified by screening as having a higher chance of preterm birth would reduce their risk of having a premature baby.

As a result, the UK NSC does not recommend a population screening programme for low risk asymptomatic pregnant women.

Supporting documents from the 2020 review

UK NSC PretermBirth Screening October 2020
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC Cover Sheet Preterm Birth 2020 10 28 REDACTED
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2020

Next review estimated to be completed: 2023 to 2024.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Preterm birth

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.