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Preterm birth occurs with 10% of deliveries and yet accounts for more than 85% of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Management of preterm labor prior to delivery includes a multipronged pharmacologic approach targeting utilization of reproductive hormones for continuation of pregnancy, advancement of fetal lung maturity, and the decrease of uterine contractility (tocolysis). This article will review and compare guidelines on pharmacologic management of preterm labor as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the European Association of Perinatal Medicine. The classifications of drugs discussed include exogenous progesterone, corticosteroids, and tocolytics (β-adrenergic agonists, magnesium sulfate, calcium channel blockers, prostaglandin inhibitors, nitrates, and oxytocin receptor blockers). For each of these drug classes, the following information will be presented: mechanism of action, maternal/fetal side effects, and nursing implications.


Lindsey Garfield, Emily Chin. Pharmacology for Preterm Labor. The Journal of perinatal & neonatal nursing. 2020 Apr/Jun;34(2):155-161

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PMID: 32332445

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