Objective: To determine whether hospitalization of women with arrested preterm labor has an effect on delivery at 36 weeks or greater when compared with women discharged home.
Methods: All women with a singleton gestation and a diagnosis of arrested preterm labor with intact membranes between 24 and 33 weeks, 4 days of gestation were randomly assigned to home or hospital management. Upon completion of a dexamethasone course, women assigned to outpatient management were promptly discharged, and women in the inpatient group were advised to continue hospitalization until 34 weeks. Decreased activity was encouraged in both groups. Bed rest was not strictly enforced. The primary outcome was delivery at 36 weeks or greater.
Results: A total of 101 women of a planned 188 were enrolled at the time of an interim analysis. There was no difference in the primary study outcome between the 2 groups and the trial was terminated. Among the hospitalized women, 71% reached 36 weeks or greater, compared with 72% of those discharged home (P = .89). The mean cervical dilatation in hospitalized women was 2.7 +/- 0.5 cm, compared with 2.6 +/- 0.5 cm in women discharged home (P = .16). The overall length of hospital stay for the women allocated to hospitalization was 16 +/- 13 days.
Conclusion: Compared with hospitalization, outpatient management of women with arrested preterm labor and intact membranes had no effect on the rate of preterm birth.
Level of evidence: I.