PRETERM birth is a leading cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality in the United States. Preterm neonates are thought to account for at least half of the mortality and morbidity among newborns without congenital anomalies.1 These conditions represent a leading cause of years of potential life lost before the age of 65 years. Preterm births generate large societal costs by requiring neonatal intensive care and long-term treatment for complications. Both primary and secondary preventive measures have been proposed for the prevention of prematurity. Primary prevention includes efforts to reduce risk factors for prematurity, such as cessation of tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use, and programs to improve nutrition, socioeconomic conditions, and prenatal care.
Secondary prevention involves the early detection and treatment of preterm labor. It has been suggested that the risk of preterm birth can be reduced significantly by the prompt initiation of treatment, which includes rest, hydration, and
Sox HC, Berwick DM, Berg AO, et al. Home Uterine Activity Monitoring for Preterm LaborReview Article. JAMA. 1993;270(3):371–376. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510030095042
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