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January 15, 1982

Preterm Labor

JAMA. 1982;247(3):357-358. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320280067037

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Infants born after a premature labor and weighing less than 1,500 g account for 65% of neonatal mortality. The devastation of preterm labor is not limited to death, since the incidence of neurological damage to the survivors varies between 30% and 50%. The magnitude of the problem has stimulated intense study and progress in an attempt at its understanding and management.

This book is a multiauthored international effort at putting together our present knowledge of preterm labor. Each chapter is concise and generally well written, although, as might be expected in such an effort, there is some unevenness. What is particularly commendable is an evenhanded expression of controversy with respect, for example, to the use of corticosteroids in prevention of respiratory distress syndrome, with appropriate marshaling of evidence. There is a particularly good chapter on the case for nonintervention in preterm labor, and an excellent one on the use of