Background: Worldwide the progress in reducing neonatal mortality has been very slow. The rate of preterm birth has increased over the last 20 years in low-income and middle-income countries. Its association with increased mortality and morbidity is based on experimental studies and neonatal outcomes from countries with socioeconomic differences, which have considered implementing alternative healthcare strategies to prevent and reduce preterm births. Currently, there is no widely effective strategy to prevent preterm birth. Pharmacological therapies are directed at inhibiting myometrial contractions to prolong parturition. Some drugs, medicinal plants and microorganisms possess myorelaxant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties that have proved useful in preventing preterm birth associated with inflammation and infection.
Review and Conclusion: This review focuses on the existing literature regarding the use of different drugs, medicinal plants, and microorganisms that show promising benefits for the prevention of preterm birth associated with inflammation and infection. New alternative strategies involving the use of PDE-4 inhibitors, medicinal plants and probiotics could have a great impact for improving prenatal and neonatal outcomes and give babies the best start in life, ensuring lifelong health benefits. Despite promising results from well-documented cases, only a small number of these alternative strategies have been studied in clinical trials. The development of new drugs and the use of medicinal plants and probiotics for the treatment and/or prevention of preterm birth is an area of growing interest due to their potential therapeutic benefits in the field of gynecology and obstetrics.
Keywords: Preterm birth, infection, inflammation, immunomodulation, PDE-4 inhibitors, medicinal plants, probiotics, microbiota.
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