The programme

Designed in partnership with families and staff, PReCePT (Preventing Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour) is a quality improvement project, aimed at increasing antenatal administration of magnesium sulphate to mothers during preterm labour.

Funded by NHS England, PReCePT has been chosen for adoption and spread across the national AHSN Network during 2018-2020.


Babies born too soon (preterm) are at an increased risk of dying in the first weeks of life, and those who survive may suffer from varying degrees of cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness or physical disabilities.

Antenatal magnesium sulphate (MgS04) given prior to preterm birth for fetal neuroprotection prevents cerebral palsy. It costs approximately £1 per individual dose.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 babies are born before 30 weeks’ gestation in England per year and stand to benefit from full national roll out of the PReCePT programme. Successful scaling up of PReCePT is likely to prevent several hundred cases of cerebral palsy per year, based on highest grade evidence.

As a national AHSN programme and the aligned drivers of the Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative (MNHSC) and the national Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSC) the aim is to achieve 85% uptake of administration of magnesium sulphate to women in very preterm labour in all maternity units in England, with a stretch target of 95% by 2020.