Midwife Treena Wild

More mothers in preterm labour offered treatment to reduce chance of their baby developing cerebral palsy

Mums-to-be in Greater Manchester are being offered a new treatment to help reduce the chance of their preterm babies developing cerebral palsy, following a successful research programme.

Magnesium sulphate reduces the risk of a preterm baby developing cerebral palsy by around 30 per cent and costs the NHS just £1 per treatment.

PReCePT (Prevention of Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour), sees eligible mothers in preterm labour offered the treatment, which has been proven to protect preterm babies’ brains.

The project is one of seven NHS England-funded programmes selected for adoption and spread across the national AHSN Network and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) during 2018-2020. Health Innovation Manchester, the organisation responsible for accelerating proven innovation into Greater Manchester’s health and social care services, has been working to increase adoption and spread of the PReCePT programme in the city-region.

Latest figures show that since the PReCePT project began, the proportion of eligible mothers receiving the treatment has soared from 58 per cent to 88 per cent in Greater Manchester.

Life changing

Debby Gould, Maternity Clinical Lead at Health Innovation Manchester and the Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire Patient Safety Collaborative, said: “Magnesium sulphate is a very cost effective way to prevent brain injury in babies that are born early.

“We are delighted that more women in Greater Manchester are now being offered this potentially life changing intervention and we are working with maternity units to ensure it is available for every eligible mother and preterm baby.”

One per cent of all births are preterm (born before 30 weeks’ gestation) and 10 per cent of these babies have cerebral palsy. The treatment, which is given to mothers via an intravenous drip in their arm before birth, reduces the risk of a preterm baby developing cerebral palsy by around 30 per cent, with no increased risks to the baby.

For every 37 mothers who receive magnesium sulphate, one case of cerebral palsy is prevented.


PReCePT aims to ensure at least 85 per cent of all eligible mothers are receiving magnesium sulphate across all maternity units in England by 2020.

Mothers who experienced preterm labours have helped shape the PReCePT programme, and are keen to encourage other women in the same position to be given magnesium sulphate to reduce the risk of their babies developing cerebral palsy.

Women are being encouraged to talk to their doctor and midwife for more information on magnesium sulphate, preterm labour and what this means for their baby. It is important that women feel they have all the information needed to make the right decisions for themselves and their baby.

In this video Midwife Treena Wild from the Royal Oldham Hospital explains the importance of bringing evidence-based improvements into everyday care and how it’s being done here.


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