Contemporary practice patterns and beliefs regarding tocolysis among U.S. maternal-fetal medicine specialists

Nathan S. Fox, Shari E. Gelber, Robin B. Kalish, Stephen T. Chasen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: To estimate maternal-fetal medicine specialists' practice patterns and perceived risks and benefits to tocolysis. Methods: We performed a mail-based survey of all Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) members in the United States. Subjects were asked whether they would recommend tocolysis and what would be their first-line tocolytic in five scenarios: 1) acute preterm labor; 2) maintenance tocolysis after arrested preterm labor; 3) repeat acute preterm labor; 4) preterm premature rupture of membranes (PROM) without contractions; and 5) preterm PROM with contractions. Results: A total of 827 (46%) SMFM members responded. Ninety-six percent, 56%, 56%, 32%, and 29% would recommend tocolysis for acute preterm labor, repeat acute preterm labor, preterm PROM with contractions, preterm PROM without contractions, and maintenance tocolysis, respectively. The most common first-line tocolytic was magnesium for acute preterm labor (45%) and repeat acute preterm labor (41%); nifedipine was the most common maintenance tocolysis (79%). Eighty percent believed tocolysis was associated with moderate or significant benefit in the setting of acute preterm labor; however, fewer than 50% responded similarly for the other four scenarios. In all five scenarios, more than 50% of respondents indicated there was minimal or no risk associated with tocolysis. Having a nonacademic practice was independently associated with the recommendation for tocolysis. Conclusion: Almost all maternal-fetal medicine specialists recommend tocolysis in the setting of acute preterm labor, and many recommend tocolysis for other indications. Magnesium and nifedipine are the most commonly prescribed first-line tocolytics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008


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