Preterm labor assessment toolkit

Recent studies prove that babies born 39-40 weeks gestational age experience better outcomes than infants born even a few weeks early. As a leader in maternal and child health, March of Dimes is committed to improving perinatal outcomes and reducing preterm deliveries.

According to substantial evidence in the literature, there continues to be wide variation in the practices used to assess pregnant women presenting with symptoms of preterm labor. Together with our co-authors, the March of Dimes has spearheaded the development of a Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit to help medical providers establish a standardized clinical pathway for the assessment and disposition of women with suspected preterm labor. Better identification of women in preterm labor will not only provide timely and appropriate interventions; it will also promote effective management to improve neonatal outcomes.

I invite you to review this newly revised evidence-based resource that can be implemented at all levels of maternity care. This edition incorporates advances in research and best practices and outlines a step-by-step guide to standardized assessment. The toolkit is not intended to dictate practice. Instead, we urge you to examine how patients in suspected preterm labor are currently being assessed and triaged to understand how this toolkit can support improvement.

The March of Dimes Preterm Labor Assessment Toolkit is divided into the following sections to help streamline access to the information most relevant to each hospital.

  • Overview; preterm labor assessment and clinical disposition of patients.
  • Algorithm, Protocol and Order Set
  • Recommendation for Data Collection
  • Implementation Guidelines
  • Patient Education and Home Care Instructions
  • Appendices – including case studies, areas of evolving care, implementation PowerPoint presentation

A free copy of the toolkit can be downloaded at Registration is required. We hope this proves to be a useful educational resource.


Jennifer L. Howse
March of Dimes President