Reduced incidence of early preterm birth in the State of Thuringia following an intravaginal pH-self-monitoring screening program

Abstract

Background

Effective prevention of preterm birth as cause of serious risks for the infant as well as the mother pre- and postpartum is one of the still unsolved problems in modern medicine.

Method

The government of the State of Thuringia in cooperation with the professional organization of obstetricians and gynecologists decided in 2016 to reestablish and promote a self-care screening program based on intravaginal (i.vag.) pH measurement to reduce the incidence of preterm birth by early diagnosis and therapy of genital infection.

Results

Starting at zero in 2016, > 80% of pregnant women in the state had their vaginal pH monitored at the end of 2018 (n = 17.180). This was associated with a reduced incidence of early preterm birth measured by gestational week ≤ 32 (1.46 vs. 1.26%).

Conclusion

The fourth millennium goal missed worldwide in 2015 as well as the newly declared third objective of the UN could come closer using the simple and cheap i.vag. pH-self-screening regime in prevention of preterm birth, an approach partly turning the woman from being object of medical care to being the subject in self-control of her pregnancy. This is also a well perceived change in paradigm from the perspective of females as well as physicians.

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Funding

This governmental campaign was funded by the State of Thuringia.

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Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

MH: information/coordination of participating obstetricians; UBH: screening setup, data analysis, discussion, manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Udo B. Hoyme.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Prof. Hoyme declares: one of the pH devices was designed and marketed by Prof. Dr. Udo Hoyme. Dr. Hesse declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This governmental campaign was compliant with ethical standards. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Hoyme, U.B., Hesse, M. Reduced incidence of early preterm birth in the State of Thuringia following an intravaginal pH-self-monitoring screening program. Arch Gynecol Obstet 302, 1–4 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00404-020-05574-7

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Keywords

  • Intravaginal pH-self-measurement
  • Prevention of preterm birth
  • Screening