Three major risk factors 'responsible for one-quarter of preterm births'

19 August 2016

Up to one-quarter of preterm births can be avoided simply by reducing or eliminating three major risk factors, according to a new study.

The Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center examined records for nearly 400,000 live non-multiple births, with potentially modifiable risk factors present in more than 90 per cent of women in the study.

As many as 25 per cent of the preterm births were potentially attributable to abnormalities in the interval between pregnancies, the mother's body mass index prior to pregnancy, and the amount of weight gain in pregnancy. 

Indeed, fewer than half of women begin pregnancy with a normal weight, while only 32 per cent achieve the recommended pregnancy weight gain. This shows the importance of educational interventions on the importance of birth spacing and achieving an optimal pre-pregnancy weight through adequate nutrition.

Emily DeFranco, an associate professor of maternal-foetal medicine at the University of Cincinnati, said: "Improvements in these modifiable risk factors could have significant influence on premature birth and infant mortality worldwide."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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