End-to-end learning with interpretation on electrohysterography data to predict preterm birth

A. M. Fischer, A. L. Rietveld, P. W. Teunissen, P. C. A. M. Bakker, M. Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Prediction of preterm birth is a difficult task for clinicians. By examining an electrohysterogram, electrical activity of the uterus that can lead to preterm birth can be detected. Since signals associated with uterine activity are difficult to interpret for clinicians without a background in signal processing, machine learning may be a viable solution. We are the first to employ Deep Learning models, a long-short term memory and temporal convolutional network model, on electrohysterography data using the Term–Preterm Electrohysterogram database. We show that end-to-end learning achieves an AUC score of 0.58, which is comparable to machine learning models that use handcrafted features. Moreover, we evaluate the effect of adding clinical data to the model and conclude that adding the available clinical data to electrohysterography data does not result in a gain in performance. Also, we propose an interpretability framework for time series classification that is well-suited to use in case of limited data, as opposed to existing methods that require large amounts of data. Clinicians with extensive work experience as gynaecologist used our framework to provide insights on how to link our results to clinical practice and stress that in order to decrease the number of false positives, a dataset with patients at high risk of preterm birth should be collected. All code is made publicly available.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106846
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Deep learning
  • Electrohysterography
  • Explainable AI
  • Interpretability framework
  • Machine learning
  • Preterm birth prediction

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