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

  • Maternity units across Greater Manchester are offering eligible mothers in preterm labour a treatment to reduce the chance of their baby developing cerebral palsy.
  • 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.
  • Since the programme began in Greater Manchester take up of the treatment has grown from 58% to 88%

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

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.

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

The project, which celebrates its first birthday today (24 May 2019), 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.

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

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, which can impact quality of life for both babies and their families.

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. One dose of magnesium sulphate costs the NHS just £1.

PReCePT aims to ensure at least 85% 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.

Watch: PReCePT Midwife Champions from Oldham and Tameside share why PReCePT is such an important project and how they've been adopting the project in their maternity units