Columbia University Medical Center

New Preterm Birth Prevention Center Opens

Photo: John Abbott

The Preterm Birth Prevention Center, a new center dedicated to improving perinatal outcomes by providing personalized medical care for women at high risk for premature birth, has opened in Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Led by maternal-fetal medicine specialists Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, and Joy-Sarah Vink, MD, the Preterm Birth Prevention Center is the first initiative of its kind in the Northeast to bring together cutting-edge clinical and translational research and best clinical practice to serve patients at risk for spontaneous preterm birth.

“The impact of preterm birth on mothers, children, and families is immeasurable,” says Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman. “With the Preterm Birth Prevention Center, we’re not just offering expert care to mothers at risk for preterm birth in New York, we are also working to reduce instances of preterm birth all over the world.”

Preterm birth centers have been shown to significantly improve outcomes for patients at risk for preterm birth, which affected 1 in 10 babies in the United States in 2014 and is a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. Mothers who may be at risk for preterm birth include women with twins or higher order multiple gestations, women who have a history of preterm delivery, and women with cervical insufficiency. African-American women, women who are over- or underweight, and women who smoke are also at higher risk for preterm birth.

Directors of the Preterm Birth Prevention Center Joy Vink (left) and Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman. Photo: John Abbott

The Preterm Birth Prevention Center at CUMC brings together clinical and research specialists in the division of maternal-fetal medicine. It joins two other centers at CUMC dedicated to high-risk obstetrics, the Carmen and John Thain Center for Prenatal Pediatrics and the Mothers Center.

“Columbia University is a leader in serving women at risk for, or experiencing, high-risk pregnancies,” says Mary E. D’Alton, MD, the Willard C. Rappleye Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. “The Preterm Birth Prevention Center, along with our other multidisciplinary centers, is a vital step in expanding the care that we offer patients and in communicating our dedication to improving outcomes for mothers.”

Outpatient care will be offered at three locations in the New York City metropolitan area: midtown Manhattan, Washington Heights, and Bronxville. Patients will consult with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to develop a personalized preterm birth prevention plan. Common interventions to prevent preterm birth include vaginal and abdominal cerclage, progesterone supplements, and vaginal pessary, an experimental treatment.

For more information or to make an appointment, please visit the Preterm Birth Prevention Center or call (855) 772-2862.