About Specialty Maternal-Fetal Medicine Care at UNC

At UNC, we provide comprehensive medical care for women with a variety of high risk pregnancy conditions

We are a Level IV Hospital for both moms and babies. Level IV is the highest level of specialty services available.  This means that UNC has resources to take care of the sickest moms and sickest babies if needed. While many moms and babies who are cared for at UNC have uncomplicated deliveries, others do not.  You can rest assured that we can take care of you and your baby no matter how routine - or un-routine - your care ends up being.  We work together as a team to make the best care plan to increase the chances of a healthy mom and a healthy baby.

The prematurity prevention clinic is one of several specialty clinics the UNC Maternal-Fetal Medicine offers.  We also offer specialty clinics and programs for women:

After delivery, we offer a specialty clinic focused on the postpartum needs of women (this clinic provides mental health resources and breastfeeding support) - Dr. Alison Stuebe

Why focus one of the specialty clinics on preterm birth?

It’s common.  In the United States, 1 in 8 babies is born preterm. 

It’s dangerous.  Preterm babies ‘preemies’ are born before their organs and systems have time to be completely mature or functional.  Even preemies that receive the best medical care in Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICUs) are at risk for long-term problems that can last a lifetime.  Preemies that survive are at higher risk of cerebral palsy, developmental delay (mental retardation), behavioral issues, chronic lung disease, deafness, and blindness.

It's expensive.  The Institute of Medicine estimates that the combined annual cost of preterm birth in the United States is $26.2 billion, more than $51,000 per infant. 

These risks are highest for the earliest preemies.  However, all preterm babies are at risk of complications.

We know that consistent, evidence-based care can improve outcomes.  There are few interventions supported by evidence, and they don't work for all women.  But studies suggest that we can improve clinical outcomes if we consistently identify women at highest risk for preterm birth and offer appropriate treatment to prevent or reduce the risks of preterm birth.