More babies die before their first birthday in the United States than in most other developed countries. Premature birth is to blame, as it is the leading cause of infant death in our country.
Clinicians and scientists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are spearheading research at the population, clinical and laboratory levels to inform prevention strategies.
Ohio Perinatal Research Network
The Ohio Perinatal Research Network (OPRN) is a collaboration between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University to fight prematurity through innovation in research. A major initial effort of OPRN is to establish the Perinatal Research Repository, where clinical data and biospecimens from infants delivered prematurely and mothers and/or fathers will be stored and used in current and future research. More than 5,000 specimens from more than 300 families are already banked in the repository and a sophisticated informatics capability has been developed in support of this effort.
Ohio Better Births Outcomes
Collaborative research programs are key to developing new prevention measures. The Ohio Better Births Outcomes (OBBO) initiative, a collaborative between Nationwide Children’s, central Ohio’s additional three hospital systems, the Columbus Public Health Department and local government and community organizations, is using such research to drive its prematurity prevention projects.
Projects are based on the scientific findings that progesterone can help prevent recurrent preterm births and that the last few weeks of pregnancy are some of the most important. Also, pairing a low-income, first-time mother with a nurse can improve neonatal outcomes, and safe spacing of pregnancy is important to help prevent prematurity.