Prevention of preterm birth

Measures to prevent preterm birth can predominantly be taken in the areas of healthcare and lifestyle changes already before planning a pregnancy and might decrease the risk of preterm birth:

Pre-conceptional, antenatal and maternal care [1]

Comprehensive advice for couples with the desire to have a baby as well as high quality antenatal care are the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy complications. It is very important to attend all scheduled appointments where both, the mother and the baby, are closely examined. During these visits, risk factors can be identified and possible health consequences might be prevented or treated. To ensure the best care and health during pregnancy, a woman should visit her responsible health care professional already when anticipating a pregnancy.

Lifestyle modifications

Lifestyle like habits, hobbies, daily behaviour and the environment influence health. During pregnancy, this also has an impact on the unborn baby. Knowing this, it is worth for parents-to-be to think about their lifestyle, how it might affect the unborn child and what they can do or what they could change in order to give their baby from the very beginning the best start in life. Care should therefore include education and counselling on an optimal nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and substance use and essential immunisations.


Comprehensive information about a healthy pregnancy and maternal health are provided in our pregnancy section.


[1] MedlinePlus, National Institute of Health. Premature infant. 2014. Available from: (Date of visit: 13.12.2016)