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The epidemiology, etiology, and costs of preterm birth

  • Heather A. Frey
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Address: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ohio State University School of Medicine, 395 W. 12th Ave, 5th Floor, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. Tel.: +1 330 329 8469; fax: +1 614 293 4162.
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • Mark A. Klebanoff
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

    Center for Perinatal Research, Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA
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Published:January 11, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.siny.2015.12.011

      Summary

      After decades of rising preterm birth rates in the USA and other countries, recent prematurity rates seem to be on the decline. Despite this optimistic trend, preterm birth rates remain higher in the USA, where nearly one in every eight infants is born early, compared to other developed countries. The prevention of preterm birth is considered a public health priority because of the potential to reduce infant and childhood morbidity and mortality related to this condition. Unfortunately, progress has been modest. One of the greatest challenges in studying this outcome is that preterm birth is a complex condition resulting from multiple etiologic pathways. Recently, experts have developed innovative frameworks for classifying and studying preterm birth based on phenotype. These proposed classification systems have only recently been adopted, but a different perspective on a longstanding problem has the potential to lead to new discoveries.

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