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PReCePT – Reducing rates of cerebral palsy in pre term labour

The PReCePT initiative has been designed to help reduce cerebral palsy in babies by administering magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) to mothers during preterm labour.

The PReCePT initiative was designed to help reduce cerebral palsy in babies by giving magnesium sulphate to mothers during preterm labour (less than 37 weeks).

PReCePT was originally trialled in five maternity units in the West of England Academic Health Science Network and evaluated by the Applied Research Collaboration (West). Results showed that giving magnesium sulphate to mothers during preterm labour reduces the risk of cerebral palsy by 30%. Following this success, it was selected as one of seven national programmes to be adopted across England.

UCLPartners launched its regional programme in June 2018. With the support of a regional clinical lead, we worked with all of the maternity and neonatal units in the region to undertake a quality improvement project to increase the use of magnesium sulphate to help prevent brain injury for this group of babies. We supported teams by providing:

  • Funding for midwife champions in each unit to lead training and implementation
  • Clinical guidance packs and training toolkits
  • Access to an online platform to help teams monitor progress and share learning
  • Regular learning sessions for midwife champions to track progress and share learning
  • Support in using Quality Improvement methods
  • Support from a regional clinical obstetrician

As a result of this work, we contributed to significant improvements at a national level, with 877 more eligible women receiving magnesium sulphate – an increase in uptake of 33% in the last 12 months.

For further information, see the West of England PreCePT case study, or read the BMJ article.

Contact details

Paulina E. Sporek de Lacerda, Maternity Improvement Advisor. Email:

Marina Fernando, Clinical Lead. Email: