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Some women in CNY to be asked more questions in hopes of cutting number of preterm births

St. Joseph's Hospital

A preterm birth initiative spearheaded by St. Joseph’s Health aims to cut down on the number of premature babies born in central New York.

Some pregnant women in central New York are getting more than the usual questions during prenatal doctor’s visits. They’re also getting  quizzed about tobacco use, alcohol and substance abuse, stress management, and oral health, which are all risk factors tied to a preterm birth.

Luis Castro, medical director at St. Joseph's Primary Care West, said getting this information early on can make a difference whether a baby is born at full term, or premature.

"We’ve seen firsthand with our patient population that when we do focus on high-risk groups and we do intervene, that it does lead to better outcomes, i.e.  less preterm birth,  less preterm labor, less complications from delivery like C-sections, diabetes, hypertension."

Castro said that not only helps the mother and baby, but also can keep controls over the high cost of caring for a preterm newborn. St Joseph’s started doing this in participating hospitals, and is working to expand to other local health care offices.